gink·​go | \ˈgiŋ-(ˌ)kō also ˈgiŋk-(ˌ)gō \
variants: or less commonly gingko
plural ginkgoes or ginkgos also gingkos or gingkoes

Definition of ginkgo 

1 : a gymnospermous dioecious tree (Ginkgo biloba) of eastern China that is widely grown as an ornamental or shade tree and has fan-shaped leaves and foul-smelling yellowish fleshy seed coats

called also maidenhair tree

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Did You Know?

There is only one living representative of the gymnosperm order Ginkgoales, and that is the tree Ginkgo biloba. Native to China, the ginkgo has existed for some 250 million years and is often termed a living fossil. It has long been planted in Chinese and Japanese temple gardens, and is valued in many parts of the world as an attractive, fungus- and insect-resistant ornamental tree. It tolerates cold weather and can survive the adverse atmospheric conditions of urban areas. The light-colored wood, is soft and weak and has little economic value. The leaves are fan-shaped and leathery. The silvery nut, when roasted, is considered a delicacy. Studies have suggested that ginkgo supplements can enhance memory function in the elderly and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Examples of ginkgo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The shelves are lined with bottles containing ginkgo, ashwagandha, and CBD. Peter Andrey Smith, Outside Online, "Don't Trust the Label on Your Supplements," 5 July 2018 On another wall, magic shields made of ginkgo leaves, bamboo leaves, lavender flowers and other materials offer protection in a modern world. Ryan Kost, San Francisco Chronicle, "Artists explore diasporic roots, create new futures in SOMArts show," 14 Mar. 2018 Not only has the mighty ginkgo made appearances in poetry, art and literature for millennia., Smithsonian, "The World Told Through the Eyes of the Ginkgo Tree," 9 May 2017 Compound leaves like Boston fern or pecan work well, as do ginkgoes, Japanese maples and red oaks. Courtney Ortega, star-telegram, "Great garden-path options to ponder," 1 Nov. 2017 The absentee owners broke a cardinal rule of brownstone Brooklyn: There is a ginkgo tree near the house, and in the fall, ginkgos drop fleshy, rotten-scented fruits. Andy Newman, New York Times, "Manafort’s Brooklyn Brownstone Goes From Eyesore to Evidence," 1 Nov. 2017 Gollnick, Reichenbach and Rude said their favorite trees include white pine, sugar maple, burr oak, white oak, ginkgo and serviceberry. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Treasure in your yard: Trees need care and maintenance to thrive," 17 Sep. 2017 Today, the ginkgo stands as an icon of the Anthropocene., Smithsonian, "The World Told Through the Eyes of the Ginkgo Tree," 9 May 2017 Imagine a landscape where redwood-like metasequoias towered over the hills; slim alder-like trees, ginkgos and vines dwelled at the forest margins; and lush ferns, cycads and horsetails packed the swamps. Kate Siber, Alaska Dispatch News, "When dinosaurs ruled Alaska," 19 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ginkgo.' 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 ginkgo

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ginkgo

New Latin Ginkgo, from Japanese ginkyō

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Time Traveler for ginkgo

The first known use of ginkgo was in 1773

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English Language Learners Definition of ginkgo

: a large Chinese tree that has fan-shaped leaves

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to enclose within walls

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