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[pi-kahn, -kan, pee-kan] /pɪˈkɑn, -ˈkæn, ˈpi kæn/
a tall hickory tree, Carya illinoinensis, of the southern U.S. and Mexico, cultivated for its oval, smooth-shelled, edible nuts: the state tree of Texas.
a nut of this tree.
Origin of pecan
Mississippi Valley French
1765-75, Americanism; < Mississippi Valley French pacane < Illinois pakani < Proto-Algonquian *paka·n- nut (derivative of *pake·- crack nuts) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pecan
  • People didn't know that ice cream could be more exciting than butter pecan.
  • The campus is lined with native live oak and pecan trees as well as imported palm trees.
  • If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss the crispy pecan waffle, dressed with a pecan praline syrup.
  • Desserts range from autumn fruit crisp to brown butter pumpkin layer cake to chocolate pecan pie.
  • Sweet potato pecan pie and creme brulee are some of the dishes on the decadent dessert menu.
  • Dessert items include hot peanut pudding, peanut and pecan pudding, almond pudding and sorbet varieties.
  • Cheesecake and pecan brownie sundaes are available for dessert.
  • At the bakery counter you can pick fresh-baked muffins, cinnamon and pecan rolls, bagels and scones.
  • Brunch fare includes baked pecan-encrusted trout and various fruit crepes.
  • For something lighter, try the popular pear, pecan and cherry salad topped with homemade organic cherry vinaigrette.
British Dictionary definitions for pecan


/pɪˈkæn; ˈpiːkən/
a hickory tree, Carya pecan (or C. illinoensis), of the southern US, having deeply furrowed bark and edible nuts
the smooth oval nut of this tree, which has a sweet oily kernel
Word Origin
C18: from Algonquian paccan; related to Ojibwa pagân nut with a hard shell, Cree pakan
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
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Word Origin and History for pecan

1712, paccan "the pecan tree," or a related hickory, from French pacane, from an Algonquian word meaning "nut" (cf. Cree pakan "hard-shelled nut," Ojibwa bagaan, Abenaki pagann, Fox /paka:ni/).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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