\ ˈa-ˌkē How to pronounce ackee (audio) , a-ˈkē \
variants: or

Definition of ackee

: the fruit of an African tree (Blighia sapida) of the soapberry family grown in the Caribbean area, Florida, and Hawaii for its white or yellowish fleshy aril that is edible when ripe but is poisonous when immature or overripe and that has a toxic pink raphe attaching the aril to the seed also : the tree

Examples of ackee in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The menu features brown stew chicken, curry goat, oxtail, jerk shrimp salad and ackee with salt fish. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "From Nobu to Matt's Big Breakfast: 27 restaurants that opened in metro Phoenix in January," 3 Feb. 2020 For comforting Jamaican staples, Public House is known for its ackee and saltfish. Kate Donnelly, Condé Nast Traveler, "An Insider's Guide to Negril, Jamaica's Low-Key Hideaway," 3 Feb. 2020 Options may include curry chickpeas, jerk barbecue tofu and johnnycakes, as well as a rotating menu of Caribbean specials, such as a vegan take on sauteed ackee. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "Coffee, poutine and tacos: These new restaurants opened in metro Phoenix in November," 3 Dec. 2019 Examples include sauteed ackee, served with seaweed instead of saltfish, and ducana, sweet boiled dumplings derived from Antigua. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "Here are 3 new metro Phoenix restaurants for vegan and vegetarian food," 4 Nov. 2019 The inspector dropped a stop-sale on porridge, ackee, cooked banana and lettuce for being kept at an improper temperature. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Was your restaurant food surrounded by rat poop? If you ate here, it was," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ackee.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ackee

1794, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ackee

probably borrowed from a Twi word, or from a related loanword in another West African language

Note: G. A. Christaller, Dictionary of the Asante and Fante Language Called Tshi (Twi), 2nd edition (Basel, 1933), has the following entries: àŋkyẽ, áŋkyẽ "a kind of wild cashew tree; its fruits (they are eaten by the Krobos)"; akyẽ́à "cashew nut; Gã: atĩa." It is uncertain if Christaller's "wild cashew tree" should be equated with Blighia sapida, which does not have the cashew's distinctive drupe and accessory fruit. The etymology "Kru ā-kee," which appears in several dictionaries (as Cassidy and Le Page, Dictionary of Jamaican English, 2nd edition, Cambridge, 1980) is based ultimately on Merriam-Webster's second unabridged dictionary (Webster's New International of 1934). The Merriam-Webster files contain an unattributed note that is apparently the source of this etymology: "This seems to be the Kru word 'ā-kee' which is used for a tree yielding an excess of sap but its exact botanical name is not certain." Lorenzo Turner, the African etymologist for Merriam-Webster's 3rd unabridged dictionary (1961), retained the "Kru" etymology but noted that he could not confirm it. As Kru is now understood to be a family of more than twenty languages, its application here is not known.

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The first known use of ackee was in 1794

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Cite this Entry

“Ackee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for ackee


variants: or akee \ ˈak-​ˌē How to pronounce akee (audio) , a-​ˈkē How to pronounce akee (audio) \

Medical Definition of ackee

: the fruit of a tree (Blighia sapida of the family Sapindaceae) native to tropical West Africa but grown in the Caribbean area, Florida, and Hawaii for its white or yellowish fleshy aril which is edible when ripe but is poisonous when immature or overripe and that has a toxic pink raphe attaching the aril to the seed also : the tree

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