late 14c., from Old French cinnamone (13c.), from Latin cinnamum, cinnamomum "cinnamon" (also used as a term of endearment), from Greek kinnamomon, from a Phoenician word akin to Hebrew qinnamon. Stripped from the bark of a tree in the avocado family. Ceylon cinnamon, the true cinnamon, is used in Britain, but American cinnamon is almost always from the related cassia tree of Southeast Asia and is stronger and sweeter.
Heb. kinamon, the Cinnamomum zeylanicum of botanists, a tree of the Laurel family, which grows only in India on the Malabar coast, in Ceylon, and China. There is no trace of it in Egypt, and it was unknown in Syria. The inner rind when dried and rolled into cylinders forms the cinnamon of commerce. The fruit and coarser pieces of bark when boiled yield a fragrant oil. It was one of the principal ingredients in the holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:23). It is mentioned elsewhere only in Prov. 7:17; Cant. 4:14; Rev. 18:13. The mention of it indicates a very early and extensive commerce carried on between Palestine and the East.