- a tall, aromatic tree, Liquidambar styraciflua, of the eastern U.S., having star-shaped leaves and fruits in rounded, burlike clusters.
- the hard reddish-brown wood of this tree, used for making furniture.
- the amber balsam exuded by this tree, used in the manufacture of perfumes and medicines.
Origin of sweet gum
An Americanism dating back to 1690–1700
Also called red gum (for defs 1, 2).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sweet gum
But as to the liquidambar, or sweet-gum, there can be no question.Getting Acquainted with the Trees
J. Horace McFarland
Sweet-gum bark and copperas and make any cloth a purple color.
He had found among them a sweet-gum ball and a pine cone, and was applying them to the invariable test of taste.His "Day In Court"
Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)
The sweet-gum, copalm, or alligator tree (Liquidambar styraciflua).Original Narratives of Early American History
Vaca and Others
There is not a more characteristic tree known than the sweet-gum, or liquidambar.Evolution
Joseph Le Conte
- a North American liquidambar tree, Liquidambar styraciflua, having prickly spherical fruit clusters and fragrant sap: the wood (called satin walnut) is used to make furnitureCompare sour gum
- the sap of this tree
Often shortened to: red gum
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