noun lem·on \ˈle-mən\
Updated on: 26 Jul 2017

Definition of lemon

  1. 1a :  an acid fruit that is botanically a many-seeded pale yellow oblong berry produced by a small thorny citrus tree (Citrus limon) and that has a rind from which an aromatic oil is extractedb :  a tree that bears lemons

  2. 2 :  something (such as an automobile) that is unsatisfactory or defective

Examples of lemon in a Sentence

  1. The recipe calls for the juice of two lemons.

  2. Garnish it with a slice of lemon.

  3. Our new car is a lemon.

Recent Examples of lemon from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lemon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Illustration of lemon

Origin and Etymology of lemon

Middle English lymon, from Middle French limon, from Medieval Latin limon-, limo, from Arabic laymūn, līmūn, from Persian līmū, līmun



adjective lem·on

Definition of lemon

  1. 1 :  of the color lemon yellow

  2. 2a :  containing lemonb :  having the flavor or scent of lemon

First Known Use of lemon


Financial Definition of LEMON


What It Is

A lemon is an item whose defects were not outwardly apparent at the time that it was sold to a consumer.  ”Lemon” has typically referred to a defective new car but its current application has become more widespread.

How It Works

What constitutes a lemon?  Using the example of a car, any new vehicle that has a substantial and/or continuous problem that isn't fixed within a reasonable number of attempts, or that has had a certain number of days out of service or in repair. The legal definition according to many state statutes is as follows: 1) a new car can not be fixed for a substantial defect within four attempts; or 2) a safety defect can not be fixed within two attempts; or 3) the car is out of service for 30 days within the first 12,000 miles and/or the first 12 or 24 months of purchase., Under these conditions, the consumer may be entitled to a remedy from the manufacturer of either cash or a replacement car.

Federal and state laws to protect the consumer have been passed in response to the alleged proliferation of defective cars. The consumer is protected by three types of laws: The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, The Uniform Commercial Code, and various state laws.

Why It Matters

The consumer is armed with legislation to support his efforts to secure either a refund or replacement for his defective purchase. Aware of these rights, he can confidently assert his position when faced with a new vehicle (or other product) that is consistently needing repair.

LEMON Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of lemon for English Language Learners

  • : a yellow citrus fruit that has a sour taste

  • : a bright yellow color

  • : a product that is not made well : a product that does not work the way it should

LEMON Defined for Kids


noun lem·on \ˈle-mən\

Definition of lemon for Students

  1. 1 :  an oval yellow fruit with a sour juice that is related to the orange and grows on a small spiny tree

  2. 2 :  something unsatisfactory :  dud The used car was a lemon.

Medical Dictionary


noun lem·on \ˈlem-ən\

Medical Definition of lemon

  1. :  an acid fruit that contains citric acid and vitamin C, is botanically a many-seeded pale yellow oblong berry, and is produced by a small thorny tree of the genus Citrus (C. limon); also :  this tree



Illustration of lemon

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an extremely thin woman

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