tu·​pe·​lo ˈtü-pə-ˌlō How to pronounce tupelo (audio)
plural tupelos
: any of a genus (Nyssa of the family Nyssaceae) of North American and Asian deciduous trees that have simple alternate leaves, small usually greenish-white dioecious flowers, and a rounded drupe
especially : black gum
: the pale soft wood of a tupelo

Examples of tupelo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Overhead some osprey, a hawk and a bald eagle glided among the nearby tupelo, sweet gum and oak-hackberry forest trees. Ricky Carioti, Washington Post, 5 July 2024 For a street tree, a Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata) or black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) would be appropriate. Tovah Martin, Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2023 Also called tupelo, black gum is a fast grower that doesn’t mind swampy areas. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 21 July 2023 Future park visitors will be able to rest on the bench in the shade of two tupelo trees and enjoy the view. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, 28 Sep. 2022 For soils with above-average moisture: river birch, black tupelo, American hornbeam, sweetbay magnolia, serviceberry and smooth alder should grow well. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 20 Apr. 2022 Sherwood recommended placing a rain garden at least 10 feet away from the house, and likes to include native red maple and tupelo trees if there’s room. Jon Gorey, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Mar. 2022 The tupelo is most striking in the autumn, when its leaves turn bright scarlet. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, 14 Sep. 2021 These monoliths face three longleaf pine trees and are surrounded by a grove of tupelo trees. Bebe Howorth, ELLE Decor, 22 Apr. 2021

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

Word History


perhaps from Creek *topiló, from etó tree + piló:(fa), opiló:(fa) swamp

First Known Use

circa 1730, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tupelo was circa 1730

Dictionary Entries Near tupelo

Cite this Entry

“Tupelo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tupelo. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Tu·​pe·​lo ˈtü-pə-ˌlō How to pronounce Tupelo (audio)
city in northeastern Mississippi population 34,546

Note: Singer Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo in 1935.

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