- any of several trees of the genus Nyssa, having ovate leaves, clusters of minute flowers, and purple, berrylike fruit, especially N. aquatica, of swampy regions of the eastern, southern, and midwestern U.S.
- the soft, light wood of these trees.
Origin of tupelo
1720–30, Americanism; perhaps < Creek *’topilwa literally, swamp tree (equivalent to íto tree + opílwa swamp)
- a city in NE Mississippi.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tupelo
What the hell, he already had enough judgments against him to pave the road to Tupelo.The Strange and Mysterious Death of Mrs. Jerry Lee Lewis
Richard Ben Cramer
January 11, 2014
In the early 2000s, Dutschke joined a Tupelo studio called Kinetic Kick owned by Noel McMichael.
“Tupelo is a very small town in the middle of the Bible Belt,” McMichael said.
Republican Roger Wicker of Tupelo has now cruised easily to re-election to a full term in the US Senate.An Open Letter to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker
November 9, 2012
Raymond promptly stole it from a church parking lot during Wednesday night prayer meeting and sold it to a chop shop near Tupelo.John Grisham's Debut Short Story
October 26, 2009
Tupelo gum is now used in slack cooperage, principally for heading.Seasoning of Wood
Joseph B. Wagner
The range of black gum is much more extensive than that of tupelo.
It is not, however, as purely a swamp tree as tupelo and cypress.
The enemy were at Tupelo, Miss., forty-nine miles below Corinth.Life of Wm. Tecumseh Sherman.
W. Fletcher Johnson
There are three varieties of tents—sponge, laminaria, and tupelo.
- any of several cornaceous trees of the genus Nyssa, esp N. aquatica, a large tree of deep swamps and rivers of the southern US
- the light strong wood of any of these trees
C18: from Creek ito opilwa, from ito tree + opilwa swamp
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 tupelo
black gum tree, 1730, apparently from Cree (Algonquian) ito opilwa "swamp tree."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper