tu·​pe·​lo | \ ˈtü-pə-ˌlō How to pronounce tupelo (audio) , ˈtyü- \
plural tupelos

Definition of tupelo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : 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
2 : the pale soft wood of a tupelo


geographical name
Tu·​pe·​lo | \ ˈtü-pə-ˌlō How to pronounce Tupelo (audio) , ˈtyü- \

Definition of Tupelo (Entry 2 of 2)

city in northeastern Mississippi population 34,546

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

Examples of tupelo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Try coasting among the tupelo trees, with trunks that stretch wide into the water, through Cedar Creek. Katie Strasberg Rousso, Southern Living, 8 Mar. 2021 The Apalachicola River of North Florida in healthier times plunged deeply into tupelo forests, where the flooding waters brewed into an organic energy drink for a web of life that included a bay acclaimed for oysters. Kevin Spear, orlandosentinel.com, 9 Dec. 2020 Other trees to rival maples with riotous hues of red, orange and yellow simultaneously are the tupelo and Persian ironwood. oregonlive, 6 Nov. 2020 During the 1800s, the eastern edges of St. Bernard and Orleans parishes were covered with a forest of baldcypress and tupelo that lived in low-salinity swamps. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, 3 Oct. 2020 Snyder noted that trees planted so far include dawn redwood, sugar maple, horse chestnut, redbud, crabapple and tupelo. Linda Gandee, cleveland, 25 May 2020 Read more: Wait, what are these Kentucky-type plants doing in this Florida cypress tupelo swamp? Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 6 Mar. 2020

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

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First Known Use of tupelo


circa 1730, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tupelo


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

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The first known use of tupelo was circa 1730

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tupelo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tupelo. Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on tupelo

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tupelo


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