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Old English alewe "fragrant resin of an East Indian tree," a Biblical usage, from Latin aloe, from Greek aloe, translating Hebrew ahalim (plural, perhaps ultimately from a Dravidian language).
The Greek word probably was chosen for resemblance of sound to the Hebrew, because the Greek and Latin words referred originally to a genus of plants with spiky flowers and bitter juice, used as a purgative drug, a sense which appeared in English late 14c. The word was then misapplied to the American agave plant in 1680s. The "true aloe" consequently is called aloe vera.
aloe al·oe (āl'ō)
Any of various chiefly African plants of the genus Aloe, having rosettes of succulent, often spiny-margined leaves and long stalks bearing yellow, orange, or red tubular flowers.
Any of various laxative drugs obtained from the processed juice of a certain species of aloe.
(Heb. 'ahalim), a fragrant wood (Num. 24:6; Ps. 45:8; Prov. 7:17; Cant. 4:14), the Aquilaria agallochum of botanists, or, as some suppose, the costly gum or perfume extracted from the wood. It is found in China, Siam, and Northern India, and grows to the height sometimes of 120 feet. This species is of great rarity even in India. There is another and more common species, called by Indians aghil, whence Europeans have given it the name of Lignum aquile, or eagle-wood. Aloewood was used by the Egyptians for embalming dead bodies. Nicodemus brought it (pounded aloe-wood) to embalm the body of Christ (John 19:39); but whether this was the same as that mentioned elsewhere is uncertain. The bitter aloes of the apothecary is the dried juice of the leaves Aloe vulgaris.
plant of the family agave (Agavaceae), and its fibre, belonging to the leaf fibre (q.v.) group. Despite its name, it is not a true hemp.