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

  • n. See screw bean.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small tree, Prosopis pubescens, native to Mexico and parts of the United States that has spirally twisted pods; the screw bean
  • n. A low-frequency seismic event associated with volcanoes

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

  • n. shrub or small tree of southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico having spirally twisted pods


American Spanish, from Spanish, small lathe, screw, diminutive of torno, lathe, from Latin tornus; see turn.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • This is called the "tornillo" (screw), and it is a real corkscrew path, cut out of the mountain side at an angle of about 50 deg., and about 450 feet of a climb.

    Argentina from a British Point of View

  • Around grew _acacias, mimosas, gleditschias, robinias, algarobias_ -- all the thorny legumes of the world; above towered the splendid _fouquiera_ with spinous stem; there nourished the "tornillo" (_prosopis glandulosa_), with its twisted beans; there the "junco" (_koeblerinia_), whose very leaves are thorns.

    The War Trail The Hunt of the Wild Horse

  • The horned lizard (_agama cornuta_), the ground rattlesnake, the shell-covered armadillo, and the ever-present coyote, alone inhabit these dry jungles; and now and then the javali (_dicotyles torquatus_), feeding upon the twisted legumes of the "tornillo," passes through their midst; but even these are rare; and the traveller may ride for scores of miles through a Mexican chapparal without encountering aught that lives and moves.

    The War Trail The Hunt of the Wild Horse

  • These signals may have been related to eruptive activity (amongst others, it included the famous "tornillo" events that Galeras volcano in Colombia is notorious for).

    ScienceBlogs Channel : Life Science


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