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[kat-i-choo, -kyoo] /ˈkæt ɪˌtʃu, -ˌkyu/
any of several astringent substances obtained from various tropical plants, especially from the wood of two East Indian acacias, Acacia catechu and A. suma: used in medicine, dyeing, tanning, etc.
Also called cashoo, cutch.
Origin of catechu
1670-80; < New Latin < Portuguese; perhaps a conflation of Marathi kāt catechu and kāccu, with same sense, alleged to be < Malayalam; cashoo, cutch perhaps < Malay kacu < Malayalam, or a cognate Dravidian word Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for catechu


a water-soluble astringent resinous substance obtained from any of certain tropical plants, esp the leguminous tree Acacia catechu of S Asia, and used in medicine, tanning, and dyeing See also gambier
Word Origin
C17: probably from Malay kachu, of Dravidian origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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