trag·​a·​canth ˈtra-jə-ˌkan(t)th How to pronounce tragacanth (audio)
-kən(t)th How to pronounce tragacanth (audio)
 also  ˈtra-gə-ˌsan(t)th
: a gum obtained from various Asian or eastern European plants (genus Astragalus and especially A. gummifer) of the legume family that swells in water and is used chiefly as an emulsifying, suspending, or thickening agent

Examples of tragacanth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web All were molded out of a powdered sugar paste likely made with rose and orange blossom water and tragacanth, a resin from a plant indigenous to the Middle East and Asia: the yields of trade and Western expansion. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021

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

Word History


Middle French tragacanthe, from Latin tragacantha, from Greek tragakantha, from tragos goat + akantha thorn

First Known Use

1558, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tragacanth was in 1558

Dictionary Entries Near tragacanth

Cite this Entry

“Tragacanth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


ˈtraj-ə-ˌkan(t)th, ˈtrag-, -kən(t)th; also ˈtrag-ə-ˌsan(t)th
: a gum obtained from various Asian or East European leguminous plants (genus Astragalus and especially A. gummifer) that swells in water and is used as an emulsifying, suspending, and thickening agent and as a demulcent

called also gum tragacanth, hog gum

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