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pumpkin

[puhmp-kin or, commonly, puhng-kin]
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noun
  1. a large, edible, orange-yellow fruit borne by a coarse, decumbent vine, Cucurbita pepo, of the gourd family.
  2. the similar fruit of any of several related species, as C. maxima or C. moschata.
  3. a plant bearing such fruit.

Origin of pumpkin

1640–50; alteration of pumpion (see -kin), variant of pompon < Middle French, nasalized variant of popon melon, earlier pepon < Latin pepōn- (stem of pepō) < Greek pépōn kind of melon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pumpkin

pumpkin

noun
  1. any of several creeping cucurbitaceous plants of the genus Cucurbita, esp C. pepo of North America and C. maxima of Europe
    1. the large round fruit of any of these plants, which has a thick orange rind, pulpy flesh, and numerous seeds
    2. (as modifier)pumpkin pie
  2. (often capital) mainly US a term of endearment

Word Origin

C17: from earlier pumpion, from Old French pompon, from Latin pepo, from Greek pepōn, from pepōn ripe, from peptein to ripen
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 pumpkin

n.

1640s, alteration of pompone, pumpion "melon, pumpkin" (1540s), from Middle French pompon, from Latin peponem (nominative pepo) "melon," from Greek pepon "melon," probably originally "cooked (by the sun)," hence "ripe;" from peptein "to cook" (see cook (n.)). Pumpkin-pie is recorded from 1650s. Pumpkin-head, American English colloquial for "person with hair cut short all around" is recorded from 1781. Vulgar American English alternative spelling punkin attested by 1806.

America's a dandy place:
The people are all brothers:
And when one's got a punkin pye,
He shares it with the others.

[from "A Song for the Fourth of July, 1806," in "The Port Folio," Philadelphia, Aug. 30, 1806]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper