[pal-met-oh, pahl-, pah-met-oh]

noun, plural pal·met·tos, pal·met·toes.

any of various palms having fan-shaped leaves, as of the genera Sabal, Serenoa, and Thrinax.

Origin of palmetto

1555–65; earlier palmito < Spanish, diminutive of palma palm2; -etto by association with -ette Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for palmetto


noun plural -tos or -toes

any of several small chiefly tropical fan palms, esp any of the genus Sabal, of the southeastern USSee also cabbage palmetto, saw palmetto
any of various other fan palms such as palms of the genera Serenoa, Thrinax, and Chamaerops

Word Origin for palmetto

C16: from Spanish palmito a little palm ²
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 palmetto

1580s, from Spanish palmito "dwarf fan palm tree," diminutive of palma "palm tree," from Latin palma (see palm (n.2)). The suffix was subsequently Italianized. The Palmetto Flag was an emblem of South Carolina after secession (1860); the state was called Palmetto State from at least 1837.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper