[bey-oh-bab, bah-oh-, bou-bab]


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.

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

Historical Examples of baobab

  • The baobab is indisputably the monarch of African trees, p. 41.

    Perils and Captivity

    Charlotte-Adlade [ne Picard] Dard

  • In the little house of the baobab, the attic was full of these glorious trophies.

    Tartarin de Tarascon

    Alphonse Daudet

  • In front of the house of the baobab there were two large handcarts.

    Tartarin de Tarascon

    Alphonse Daudet

  • The scenery was varied by thickets of mimosas, with here and there a baobab or a tamarisk.

    Some Heroes of Travel

    W. H. Davenport Adams

  • Adansonia digitata, a species of Baobab (Order, Stercubace).

    The Desert World

    Arthur Mangin

British Dictionary definitions for baobab



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