• synonyms


[kat-i-choo, -kyoo]
  1. 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.
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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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for catechu

Historical Examples of catechu

  • The fruit, when tender, is masticated like the Areca catechu.

    The Philippine Islands

    John Foreman

  • For other dyes cotton has a special attraction, such as catechu.

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet

  • With some dyes a separate bath is needed, such as with Camwood or Catechu.

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet

  • Catechu and Betelleaf are chewed for this purpose by the natives of the East.

    The Action of Medicines in the System

    Frederick William Headland

  • The extract is an efficient substitute for catechu and kino.

British Dictionary definitions for catechu


cachou or cutch

  1. 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
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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