[ bey-oh-bab, bah-oh-, bou-bab ]
/ ˈbeɪ oʊˌbæb, ˈbɑ oʊ-, ˈbaʊ bæb /


any large tree belonging to the genus Adansonia, of the bombax family, especially A. digitata, which is native to tropical Africa, has an exceedingly thick trunk, and bears a gourdlike fruit.

Nearby words

  1. banyana banyana,
  2. banzai,
  3. banzai attack,
  4. bao,
  5. bao dai,
  6. baoding,
  7. baoji,
  8. baoqing,
  9. baor,
  10. baoshan

Origin of baobab

First recorded in 1630–40, baobab is from the New Latin word bahobab, first cited in a description of the tree's fruit by Italian physician and botanist Prospero Alpini (1553–1616 or 17); origin obscure Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for baobab

British Dictionary definitions for baobab


/ (ˈbeɪəʊˌbæb) /


a bombacaceous tree, Adansonia digitata, native to Africa, that has a very thick trunk, large white flowers, and a gourdlike fruit with an edible pulp called monkey breadAlso called: bottle tree, monkey bread tree

Word Origin for baobab

C17: probably from a native African word

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 baobab



1630s, from Medieval Latin bahobab (1590s), apparently from a central African language.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper