from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various deciduous trees and shrubs of the genus Asimina of the eastern and southeast United States, especially A. triloba, having maroon flowers with three sepals and six petals and fleshy, yellowish-green, edible fruit.
  • noun The fruit of any of these plants.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See papaw.
  • Improper; naughty; indecent; obscene: a nursery word.
  • Naughty.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) Same as papaya.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Grandfather.
  • noun An American deciduous tree, Asimina triloba, having edible fruit.
  • noun The fruit of this tree.

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

  • noun tropical American shrub or small tree having huge deeply palmately cleft leaves and large oblong yellow fruit
  • noun small tree native to the eastern United States having oblong leaves and fleshy fruit
  • noun fruit with yellow flesh; related to custard apples


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

[Originally a variant of papaya.]



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  • Pawpaw is a word that I first encountered on the Captain Kangaroo show when I was very young, in the early 1950s. It was found in the context of a traditional folk song called Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch.

    January 18, 2008

  • Funny--I think I learned it when watching the Disney version of The Jungle Book--the sound track of which, strangely enough, I listened to this morning on my drive to work. Ah, youth....

    January 18, 2008