gink·​go | \ ˈgiŋ-(ˌ)kō also ˈgiŋk-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce ginkgo (audio) \
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 neighborhood streets look just the same, except that the over–arching trees are no longer elms, but maples and ginkgos. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: “I found this $10 bill in the snow by your driveway. You must have dropped it.”," 3 Nov. 2019 The Birmingham-Southern tag will feature the college’s colors of black and gold with a ginkgo leaf in the design. Leada Gore |, al, "2 Alabama collegiate license plates getting new look," 1 Oct. 2019 For pure gold, seek out the fall foliage of the ginkgo tree. Sharon Boorstin, Los Angeles Times, "It’s autumn! California’s fall color spots are starting to pop," 23 Sep. 2019 The interfaith United Religions Initiative planted two second-generation ginkgo seedlings from trees that survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast in 1945., "Trees planted in Golden Gate Park to commemorate nuclear disarmament," 20 Sep. 2019 Perhaps best known for its pungent smell and medicinal properties, ginkgo actually boasts an impressive backstory. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Smithsonian Scientists Need Ginkgo Leaves to Study Climate Change—They Need Your Help," 6 Aug. 2019 Surviving three mass extinctions, including the one that killed the dinosaurs, ginkgo has retained a remarkably similar appearance throughout its time on Earth. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Smithsonian Scientists Need Ginkgo Leaves to Study Climate Change—They Need Your Help," 6 Aug. 2019 This latest phase, running for the entire month of August, asks science enthusiasts from across the country to send in ginkgo leaves from their local communities. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Smithsonian Scientists Need Ginkgo Leaves to Study Climate Change—They Need Your Help," 6 Aug. 2019 Among trees listed on the plans are maples, birch, ginkgoes, white firs and white pine, along with such ornamentals as redbud, dogwood, magnolia and lilacs. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Foxconn factory plan calls for hundreds of trees surrounding concrete and metal walls," 17 June 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of ginkgo was in 1773

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Statistics for ginkgo

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ginkgo.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for ginkgo


How to pronounce ginkgo (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ginkgo

: a large Chinese tree that has fan-shaped leaves

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