Word of the Day : May 24, 2011

samara

play
noun SAM-uh-ruh

Definition

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

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

Pairs of samaras grew along the maple tree's branches.

"The samara looks much like a tiny green round ravioli, or those dots of explosive caps for toy guns of the past. These are the fruit of the elm tree, with the seed forming a reddish bump in the middle." -- From an article by Marilyn Sallee, posted February 22nd, 2011, on the Native Plant Society of Texas web site



Test Your Vocabulary

What 5-letter word refers to the hard external coating of a seed? The answer is ...


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!