[trag-uh-kanth, traj-]
  1. a gummy substance derived from various low, spiny, Asian shrubs belonging to the genus Astragalus, of the legume family, especially A. gummifer: used to impart firmness to pills and lozenges, stiffen calicoes, etc.

Origin of tragacanth

1565–75; < Latin tragacantha goat's thorn < Greek tragákantha, equivalent to trág(os) goat + ákantha thorn. Cf. tragedy, acantho-
Also called gum tragacanth. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of tragacanth

British Dictionary definitions for tragacanth


  1. any of various spiny leguminous plants of the genus Astragalus, esp A. gummifer, of Asia, having clusters of white, yellow, or purple flowers, and yielding a substance that is made into a gum
  2. the gum obtained from any of these plants, used in the manufacture of pills and lozenges, etc

Word Origin for tragacanth

C16: from French tragacante, from Latin tragacantha goat's thorn, from Greek tragakantha, from tragos goat + akantha thorn
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