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2017 Word of the Year

ailanthus

[ey-lan-thuh s] /eɪˈlæn θəs/
noun, plural ailanthuses.
1.
any tree belonging to the genus Ailanthus, of the quassia family, especially A. altissima, widely grown in cities.
Compare tree of heaven.
Origin of ailanthus
Central Moluccan
1788
1788; < New Latin Ailantus, Ailanthus (th by association with Greek ánthos flower) < Central Moluccan ai lanit(o), ai lanit(e), equivalent to ai tree, wood + lanit sky + -o, -e a definite article
Related forms
ailanthic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ailanthus
Historical Examples
  • Even the ailanthus blossoms had ceased their snow-like dropping.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Max, cigarette in hand, was coming across, under the ailanthus tree.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The ailanthus tree waved in the sunlight before the little house.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The ailanthus, or "Tree of Heaven," is best raised in this way.

  • She had noticed the day before that the ailanthus was growing dusty.

  • The ailanthus worm is a native of Japan and of the north of China.

    The Insect World Louis Figuier
  • The ailanthus is quite common in this country as a wayside tree.

    Among the Trees at Elmridge Ella Rodman Church
  • The June moon had risen, sending broken shafts of white light through the ailanthus to the house door.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The ailanthus tree waved in the moonlight and sent sprawling shadows over the wall of K. Le Moyne's bedroom.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The ailanthus trees were bare at that time, throwing gaunt arms upward to the November sky.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for ailanthus

ailanthus

/eɪˈlænθəs/
noun (pl) -thuses
1.
an E Asian simaroubaceous deciduous tree, Ailanthus altissima, planted in Europe and North America, having pinnate leaves, small greenish flowers, and winged fruits Also called tree of heaven
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from native name (in Amboina) ai lanto tree (of) the gods
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ailanthus
n.

"tree of heaven," 1807, Modern Latin, from Amboyna (Malay) ailanto "tree of the gods;" spelling altered by influence of Greek anthos "flower" (see anther).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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