[ kat-i-choo, -kyoo ]
/ ˈkæt ɪˌtʃu, -ˌkyu /


any of several astringent substances obtained from various tropical plants, especially from the wood of two East Indian acacias, Acacia catechu and A. suma: used in medicine, dyeing, tanning, etc.

Nearby words

  1. catechism,
  2. catechist,
  3. catechize,
  4. catechol,
  5. catecholamine,
  6. catechumen,
  7. categorematic,
  8. categorial,
  9. categorial grammar,
  10. categoric contact

Origin of catechu

1670–80; < New Latin < Portuguese; perhaps a conflation of Marathi kāt catechu and kāccu, with same sense, alleged to be < Malayalam; cashoo, cutch perhaps < Malay kacu < Malayalam, or a cognate Dravidian word

Also called cashoo, cutch. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for catechu

British Dictionary definitions for catechu


cachou or cutch

/ (ˈkætɪˌtʃuː) /


a water-soluble astringent resinous substance obtained from any of certain tropical plants, esp the leguminous tree Acacia catechu of S Asia, and used in medicine, tanning, and dyeingSee also gambier

Word Origin for catechu

C17: probably from Malay kachu, of Dravidian origin

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