: a large hickory (Carya illinoinensis synonym C. illinoensis) that has roughish bark and hard but brittle wood and is widely grown in the warmer parts of the U.S. and in Mexico for its edible nut
: the wood of the pecan tree
The hardwood floor was made of pecan.
: the smooth oblong thin-shelled nut of the pecan tree
bought some pecans to make a pie

Examples of pecan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In true Southern fashion, a pecan makes the perfect garnish. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 28 Nov. 2023 Of the nine major food allergens, two are nuts — specifically peanuts (technically a legume), and tree nuts, including almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 28 Nov. 2023 Most recipes Lantry developed himself, while some others came from customers’ suggestions, including bourbon pecan chocolate pie, magnolia syrup, ginger beer with bourbon and jalapeño pepper jelly with white chocolate ganache. Nicole Sours Larson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Nov. 2023 Step 2 Make the crust: To a food processor, add the pecans, pine nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Lois Ellen Frank and Walter Whitewater, Saveur, 22 Nov. 2023 The box includes four mini pies: Sweet Texas Pecan, apple, cherry, and Texas Two Step, which is made from pecan and chocolate brownies. Kathleen Felton, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Nov. 2023 The base is a spring mix, with cheddar cheese shreds, apple cinnamon chips and pecans mixed in to up the flavor. Dave Quinn, Peoplemag, 6 Nov. 2023 Perhaps the pecan pie was absolutely ravaged while the apple was left untouched. Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 18 Nov. 2023 Choose from raw pecans (perfect for baking pecan pie!), roasted and salted pecans, and even gingerbread pecans. Melanie Fincher, Southern Living, 17 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


American French pacane, from Illinois pakani

First Known Use

1761, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pecan was in 1761

Dictionary Entries Near pecan

Cite this Entry

“Pecan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pecan. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pe·​can pi-ˈkän How to pronounce pecan (audio) -ˈkan How to pronounce pecan (audio)
: an oblong edible nut that usually has a thin shell and is the fruit of a tall tree of the central and southern U.S.
also : this tree which is one of the hickories

More from Merriam-Webster on pecan

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