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[kal-uh-bash] /ˈkæl əˌbæʃ/
any of various gourds, especially the bottle gourd, Lagenaria siceraria.
a tropical American tree, Crescentia cujete, of the bignonia family, bearing large, gourdlike fruit.
any of several other plants having gourdlike fruit.
the fruit of any of these plants.
the dried, hollowed-out shell of any of these fruits, used as a container or utensil.
a bottle, kettle, ladle, etc., made from such a shell.
a tobacco pipe with a large bowl made from a calabash and usually having a curved stem.
a gourd used as a rattle, drum, etc.
Origin of calabash
1590-1600; < Middle French calabasse < Spanish calabaza < Catalan carabaça, perhaps < Arabic qarʿah yābisah gourd (that is) dry Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for calabash
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I handed him the calabash, and the liquor pleasing his palate, he drank it all off.

  • And taking a morsel of the panela, he soaked it in the water in the calabash and sucked it.

  • About a glassful of limpid fluid flowed from it into the calabash.

  • You see me no more comfortable in it than a cat coiffed with a calabash.

    Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo
  • Then, without drinking, he came running with the calabash to the white men.

    The Pools of Silence H. de Vere Stacpoole
  • There was no mirror and she looked into the calabash, seeking for her reflection.

    The Trembling of a Leaf William Somerset Maugham
  • We found the fragments of the calabash strewed over the ground.

    The Scalp Hunters Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for calabash


Also called calabash tree. a tropical American evergreen tree, Crescentia cujete, that produces large round gourds: family Bignoniaceae
another name for the bottle gourd
the gourd of either of these plants
the dried hollow shell of a gourd used as the bowl of a tobacco pipe, a bottle, rattle, etc
calabash nutmeg, a tropical African shrub, Monodora myristica, whose oily aromatic seeds can be used as nutmegs: family Annonaceae
Word Origin
C17: from obsolete French calabasse, from Spanish calabaza, perhaps from Arabic qar`ah yābisah dry gourd, from qar`ah gourd + yābisah dry
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 calabash

1590s, "dried, hollowed gourd used as a drinking cup," from Spanish calabaza, possibly from Arabic qar'a yabisa "dry gourd," from Persian kharabuz, used of various large melons; or from a pre-Roman Iberian *calapaccia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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