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

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 Some 200 men were supposed to gather beneath the tall ginkgoes in the quiet courtyard, but only a dozen or so had showed and the local spirit, a deity named Susanoo, the storm god, was being made to wait. Neil Shea, National Geographic, "Tokyo became a megacity by reinventing itself," 12 June 2019 But the research behind it is inconclusive and ginkgo can interact with other medications like Xanax, antidepressants, diabetes drugs, and even ibuprofen. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Some Scientists Say These Aphrodisiacs for Women Could Actually Boost Your Libido," 6 Aug. 2015 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

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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Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

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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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