• synonyms


or su·mach

[soo-mak, shoo-]
  1. any of several shrubs or small trees belonging to the genus Rhus of the cashew family, having milky sap, compound leaves, and small, fleshy fruit.
  2. a preparation of the dried and powdered leaves, bark, etc., of certain species of Rhus, especially R. coriaria of southern Europe, used especially in tanning.
  3. the wood of these trees.
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Origin of sumac

1250–1300; Middle English < Medieval Latin < Arabic summāq
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sumac

Historical Examples of sumac

  • It was the day we climbed the Sumac Hill that we got our Idea!

    Fairy Prince and Other Stories

    Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

  • These will form beautiful combinations with the sumac and ivy.

  • This soon leading him to the place where Halberger entered the sumac grove.

  • She sent a bevy of girls into the hills to gather branches of maple and sumac.

    Gypsy Flight

    Roy J. Snell

  • Written also sumac and sumach, both accented on the first syllable.

Word Origin and History for sumac


c.1300, "preparation of dried, chopped leaves of a plant of the genus Rhus" (used in tanning and dyeing and as an astringent), from Old French sumac (13c.), from Medieval Latin sumach, from Arabic summaq, from Syrian summaq "red." Later applied to a North American plant species.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sumac in Medicine


  1. Any of various shrubs or small trees of the genus Rhus, having compound leaves, clusters of small greenish flowers, and usually red, hairy fruit. Some species, such as the poison ivy and poison oak, cause an acute itching rash on contact.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.