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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 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 See More

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.

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 7 Feb. 2023.

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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