- the silky down that invests the seeds of a silk-cotton tree (ka·pok tree), Ceiba pentandra, of the East Indies, Africa, and tropical America: used for stuffing pillows, life jackets, etc., and for acoustical insulation.
Origin of kapok
1740–50; < Javanese (or Malay of Java and Sumatra) kapuk the name of the tree
Also called Java cotton.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for kapok
The silk cotton or kapok (bombax) is also to be met with in every village.The History of Sumatra
Kapok oil is produced from a tree which is extensively grown in the East and West Indies.The Handbook of Soap Manufacture
W. H. Simmons
A good trade is also carried on in cattle, kapok, copra, pottery and all sorts of small wares.
This defect limits the use of other “flosses” or seed hairs in competition with Kapok.
Nag-atbu ang duldul sa unlan, The kapok flew out of the pillow.A Dictionary of Cebuano Visayan
John U. Wolff
- a silky fibre obtained from the hairs covering the seeds of a tropical bombacaceous tree, Ceiba pentandra (kapok tree or silk-cotton tree): used for stuffing pillows, etc, and for sound insulationAlso called: silk cotton
C18: from Malay
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
Word Origin and History for kapok
1735, from Malay kapoq, name of the large tropical tree which produces the fibers.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper