car·​nau·​ba kär-ˈnȯ-bə How to pronounce carnauba (audio) -ˈnau̇- How to pronounce carnauba (audio)
: a fan-leaved palm (Copernicia prunifera synonym C. cerifera) of Brazil that has an edible root and yields a useful leaf fiber and carnauba wax

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The wax comes from the carnauba palm, which grows in northern Brazil. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27 Oct. 2017 Conditions on carnauba plantations are so poor that police sometimes raid them to free the workers, Deutsche Welle said. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27 Oct. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'carnauba.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Brazilian Portuguese carnaúba, from Tupi karanaʔíβa, from karaná, a palm (perhaps Mauritia carana or M. flexuosa) + ɨβa stem, plant, tree

First Known Use

1866, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of carnauba was in 1866

Dictionary Entries Near carnauba

Cite this Entry

“Carnauba.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

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