Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See balsam poplar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A larch, a tree of the species Larix laricina.
  • n. A balsam poplar, a tree of the species Populus balsamifera.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The American larch (Larix Americana), a coniferous tree with slender deciduous leaves; also, its heavy, close-grained timber. Called also tamarack.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The American larch, Larix Americana: called tamarack in the northwestern lumber-regions. See larch. Sometimes hackmetack.
  • n. The juniper, Juniperus communis.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. poplar of northeastern North America with broad heart-shaped leaves

Etymologies

Earlier hakmantak, hacmontac, perhaps from Western Abenaki.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Believed to derive from Abenaki, though no specific etymon has been found.[2] The term is first attested in the 1760s–90s,[1][2] when it was spelled hakmantak[1][2][3] and referred to dense forest.[1] (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Dad said the hackmatack was a native name for the tamarack (American, or black, larch (Larix laricina)), the roots of which were commonly used to make ships' knees (a piece used to fasten keel to hull, I believe, which had to be very strong).

    languagehat.com: HACKMATACK.

  • Hortus Third lists two distinct specific epithets for "hackmatack": Populus balsamifera, a member of the Salix (willow) family; and Larix laricina, of the Pinaeceae (pine family).

    languagehat.com: HACKMATACK.

  • Grieve shows "hackmatack" as a synonym for yet another tree, the "yellow cedar", listed under Thuja occidentalis (Linn.), of the (now-outdated) Natural Order Coniferae.

    languagehat.com: HACKMATACK.

  • That said, I can testify as a native speaker of northern Maine-ese that in Piscataquis County in the 1970s, "hackmatack" clearly referred both to the tamarack notable, according to my sixth-grade science teacher, for being the only deciduous needleleaf tree and for a kind of poplar-ish tree that was also popularly known as "popple," technically the quaking aspen.

    languagehat.com: HACKMATACK.

  • Spelling of 'hackmatack' standardised to ensure consistency with other uses

    Acadia or, A Month with the Blue Noses

  • Our deciduous evergreens tamaracks, also called larch and hackmatack are filling in with fresh bright needles, some white water-flower was blooming spikes out in the bog, and white lady-slipper orchids bloomed right at the edge of the road.

    Tuesday no-roadkill report

  • Common names for P. balsamifera include balsam poplar, hackmatack, and tacamahac; common names for L. laricina include American larch, tamarack, hackmatack, and black larch.

    languagehat.com: HACKMATACK.

  • Could it be that tacamahac (Populus) and hackmatack (Larix) got confused (the words, not the trees)?

    languagehat.com: HACKMATACK.

  • Having spent considerable time in New England, I was always aware of those conifers commonly referred to as "larches", and I always thought a hackmatack tree was some sort of larch, hackmatack being a corruption of a Wampanoag or Massachusett word.

    languagehat.com: HACKMATACK.

  • A competitive googling produced 755 hits for "hackmatack, larix" and only 342 for "hackmatack, populus," but that's not exactly a scientific way of deciding the matter.

    languagehat.com: HACKMATACK.

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