sa·​ma·​ra | \ ˈsa-mə-rə How to pronounce samara (audio) ; sə-ˈma-rə, -ˈmär-ə \

Definition of samara

: a dry indehiscent usually one-seeded winged fruit (as of an ash or elm tree)

called also key

Illustration of samara

Illustration of samara

Did you know?

Not familiar with the term samara referring to the winged fruit of the elm, ash, maple, and sycamore, among other trees? Then how about "key," "whirlybird," "helicopter," "whirligig," or "spinning jenny"? Those nicknames are all excellent descriptors of a samara. A samara resembles a key and when it falls its unique shape enables it to spin like a helicopter's rotor and drift away from its tree. Botanists began using the term "samara" in the late 16th century. In Latin, it means literally "seed of the elm."

Examples of samara in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tree of heaven seed clusters hang down, each seed inside a flat samara like a small disc, that dries to brown-gray in winter. Ellen Nibali,, 31 Oct. 2019

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

First Known Use of samara

1577, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for samara

New Latin, from Latin, seed of the elm

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Cite this Entry

“Samara.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for samara

Samara geographical name

Sa·​ma·​ra | \ sə-ˈmär-ə How to pronounce Samara (audio) \
variants: or 1935–91 Kuybyshev \ ˈkwē-​bə-​ˌshef How to pronounce Samara (audio) , ˈkü-​ē-​bə-​ , -​ˌshev \

Definition of Samara

city of eastern Russia in Europe in the valley of the Volga River population 1,165,000

More from Merriam-Webster on samara

Britannica English: Translation of samara for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about samara


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