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sequoia

[si-kwoi-uh]
noun
  1. either of two large coniferous trees of California, Sequoiadendron giganteum or Sequoia sempervirens, both having reddish bark and reaching heights of more than 300 feet (91 meters).
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Origin of sequoia

1840–50, Americanism; named after Sequoya
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sequoia

Contemporary Examples of sequoia

Historical Examples of sequoia

  • There, as has been said, the enormous stem of the sequoia supported quite a forest.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • Then Godfrey shut the door, and saw that it was well hidden in the bark of the sequoia.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • Formidable talons were heard tearing the bark of the sequoia.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • The sequoia, violently wrenched, trembled from its roots to its summit.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • Pilch shaded her eyes and looked at the sequoia's crown far above them.

    Legacy

    James H Schmitz


British Dictionary definitions for sequoia

sequoia

noun
  1. either of two giant Californian coniferous trees, Sequoia sempervirens (redwood) or Sequoiadendron giganteum (formerly Sequoia gigantea) (big tree or giant sequoia): family Taxodiaceae
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Word Origin for sequoia

C19: New Latin, named after Sequoya, known also as George Guess, (?1770–1843), American Indian scholar and leader
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 sequoia

n.

large American coniferous tree, 1857, from Modern Latin tree genus name given 1847 by Austrian botanist Stephan Endlicher (1804-1849), originally to a different tree, the coast redwood, apparently in honor of Sequoya (a.k.a. George Guess, 1760-1843), Cherokee man who invented a system of writing for his people's language, whose name is from Cherokee (Iroquoian) Sikwayi, a word of unknown etymology.

Endlicher was a specialist in conifers, and he also was a philologist. But he never gave an etymology of this name and a search of his papers discovered no mention of Sequoya or the Cherokee writing system, and the connection is an assumption that some botanists have challenged, though no better candidate for a source has yet been found.

The giant sequoia was unseen by Europeans until 1833 and unknown to scientists until 1852. In May 1855, a pair of American botanists named it Taxodium giganteum, but that name was deemed inappropriate for several scientific reasons. Meanwhile, English botanist John Lindley, who had never been to California, in 1853 named it Wellingtonia in honor of the Duke of Wellington. "As high as Wellington towers above his contemporaries, as high towers this California tree above the forest surrounding it. Therefore, it shall bear for all time to come the name Wellingtonia gigantea." This sat poorly with the Americans, and much ink was spilled until a French botanist provided the solution by transferring Endlicher's name. In Britain still popularly called Wellingtonia.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper