a tropical American tree or shrub, Hippomane mancinella, of the spurge family, having a milky, highly caustic, poisonous sap.

Origin of manchineel

1620–30; earlier mancinell, mançanilla < French mancenille and its source, Spanish manzanilla, diminutive of manzana apple, Old Spanish mazana < Latin (māla) Matiāna (apples) of Matius Roman author of a cooking manual (1st century b.c.) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for manchineel

Historical Examples of manchineel

  • There is nothing for her to do but to die under the manchineel tree.

  • The poison in this case is supposed to have been the Manchineel (Hippomane).

    The Romance of Plant Life

    G. F. Scott Elliot

  • Well, then, how does Selika commit suicide in the Africaine by lying down in the shade of a manchineel?


    Armando Palacio Valds

  • Nelusko seeks her, finds her dead, and himself seeks death beside her under the fatal branches of the manchineel.

  • Those are manchineel apples; with their milky juice the old Caribs were wont to poison the barbs of their parrot-feathered arrows.

British Dictionary definitions for manchineel



a tropical American euphorbiaceous tree, Hippomane mancinella, having fruit and milky highly caustic poisonous sap, which causes skin blisters

Word Origin for manchineel

C17: via French from Spanish manzanilla
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