co·​pal ˈkō-pəl How to pronounce copal (audio)
: a recent or fossil resin from various tropical trees

Examples of copal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Heirloom jade objects, bundles of copal (incense made from pine resin) and gold discs portraying battle scenes were just some of the objects tossed into the cenote, perhaps as offerings to the Maya rain god Chaac. Rob Goyanes, Los Angeles Times, 9 Aug. 2023 With the aroma of copal (the iconic pre-Columbian incense of choice in Tulum) permeating the space, the restaurant is warm and inviting. Jamie Ditaranto, Travel + Leisure, 15 Apr. 2023 As the air filled with the smell of burning sage and copal, dozens of people joined in the non-profit restorative justice center’s community vigil for the victims of police brutality, organized one day after a jury found former police officer Derick Chauvin guilty of murder. Lauren Hernández, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Apr. 2021 Juan Gonzalez burned copal, a ceremonial incense, during the march through historic Plymouth. Camilo Fonseca,, 24 Nov. 2022 Guests first enter the restaurant by way of a sandy path that snakes through a garden of fragrant copal, guayacán and areca trees. New York Times, 4 Aug. 2022 Porras-Kim’s sculpture was molded from a substance called copal, a tree resin used as incense in Mexico and Central America. Max Pearl, Vulture, 21 Dec. 2021 With the aroma of copal, the iconic pre-Columbian incense of choice in Tulum permeating the space, the ambiance is warm and inviting. Jamie Ditaranto, Travel + Leisure, 5 Aug. 2021 But there’s something even more lofty and purposeful about burning incense—which can come in the form of paper, sticks, cones, or nuggets of copal—and watching its ghostly wisps ride the air. April Long, Town & Country, 24 Mar. 2021 See More

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

Word History


Spanish, from Nahuatl copalli resin

First Known Use

1577, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of copal was in 1577

Dictionary Entries Near copal

Cite this Entry

“Copal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a recent or fossil resin from various tropical trees used in making varnishes

More from Merriam-Webster on copal

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