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sweet gum

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.
Also called red gum (for defs 1, 2).
Origin of sweet gum
An Americanism dating back to 1690-1700 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sweet gum
Historical Examples
  • They're thicker than bees from a sweet gum—they're thicker than bolls in a cotton-field!

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • In some woods, as sweet gum and mahogany, it brings up the figure.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes
  • sweet gum, too, which he had himself gathered from the trees in the woods.

    The Bishop of Cottontown John Trotwood Moore
  • A sweet gum and a honey-locust standing together on the banks of a creek.

  • sweet gum, live oak, holly and cedar flourished in low grounds.

    The Stronghold Miriam Haynie
  • Sap is characterized in sugar maple, sweet gum, balsam fir, and sweet birch.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • The corky ridges on limbs of sweet gum and bur oak are easily remembered traits.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • Always, the foliage of the sweet gum falls before it loses its wonderful colors.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • When older, it becomes an orange color, but not red like the heart of the sweet gum and red cedar.

    A Report on Washington Territory William Henry Ruffner
  • Other trees than the sweet gum may be used in some localities with greater certainty of thriving.

British Dictionary definitions for sweet gum

sweet gum

a North American liquidambar tree, Liquidambar styraciflua, having prickly spherical fruit clusters and fragrant sap: the wood (called satin walnut) is used to make furniture Compare 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
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