horse-chestnut

horse chestnut

noun
1.
a tree, Aesculus hippocastanum, native to the Old World, having digitate leaves and upright clusters of white flowers.
2.
the shiny, brown, nutlike seed of this tree or of other trees of the genus Aesculus.

Origin:
1590–1600; translation of Neo-Latin castanea equīna; so named from its use in treating respiratory diseases of horses

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World English Dictionary
horse chestnut
 
n
1.  any of several trees of the genus Aesculus, esp the Eurasian A. hippocastanum, having palmate leaves, erect clusters of white, pink, or red flowers, and brown shiny inedible nuts enclosed in a spiky bur: family Hippocastanaceae
2.  Also called: conker the nut of this tree
 
[C16: so called from its having been used in the treatment of respiratory disease in horses]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

horse-chestnut
1597, from horse + chestnut. A tree probably native to Asia, introduced in England c.1550; the name also was extended to similar N.Amer. species such as the buckeye. Said to have been so called because it was food for horses. The nut resembles that of the edible chestnut, but is bitter to the taste.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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