• synonyms


[ey-lan-thuh s]
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noun, plural ai·lan·thus·es.
  1. any tree belonging to the genus Ailanthus, of the quassia family, especially A. altissima, widely grown in cities.
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Origin of ailanthus

1788; < New Latin Ailantus, Ailanthus (th by association with Greek ánthos flower) < Central Moluccan ai lanit(o), ai lanit(e), equivalent to ai tree, wood + lanit sky + -o, -e a definite article
Related formsai·lan·thic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ailanthus

Historical Examples

  • Even the ailanthus blossoms had ceased their snow-like dropping.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Max, cigarette in hand, was coming across, under the ailanthus tree.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The ailanthus tree waved in the sunlight before the little house.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The Ailanthus, or "Tree of Heaven," is best raised in this way.

  • She had noticed the day before that the ailanthus was growing dusty.

British Dictionary definitions for ailanthus


noun plural -thuses
  1. an E Asian simaroubaceous deciduous tree, Ailanthus altissima, planted in Europe and North America, having pinnate leaves, small greenish flowers, and winged fruitsAlso called: tree of heaven
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Word Origin

C19: New Latin, from native name (in Amboina) ai lanto tree (of) the gods
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 ailanthus


"tree of heaven," 1807, Modern Latin, from Amboyna (Malay) ailanto "tree of the gods;" spelling altered by influence of Greek anthos "flower" (see anther).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper