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juniper

[joo-nuh-per] /ˈdʒu nə pər/
noun
1.
any evergreen, coniferous shrub or tree of the genus Juniperus, especially J. communis, having cones that resemble dark-blue or blackish berries used in flavoring gin and in medicine as a diuretic.
2.
a tree mentioned in the Old Testament, said to be the retem.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English junipere < Latin jūniperus
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for juniper

juniper

/ˈdʒuːnɪpə/
noun
1.
any coniferous shrub or small tree of the genus Juniperus, of the N hemisphere, having purple berry-like cones. The cones of J. communis (common or dwarf juniper) are used as a flavouring in making gin See also red cedar (sense 1)
2.
any of various similar trees, grown mainly as ornamentals
3.
(Old Testament) one of the trees used in the building of Solomon's temple (I Kings 6:15, 34) and for shipbuilding (Ezekiel 27:5)
Word Origin
C14: from Latin jūniperus, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for juniper
n.

"evergreen shrub," late 14c., from Latin iuniperus (source of French genièvre, Spanish enebro, Portuguese zimbro, Italian ginepro), of uncertain origin, perhaps related to iunco "reed." Watkins has it from PIE *yoini-paros "bearing juniper berries," from *yoi-ni- "juniper berry." Applied to various North American species from 1748. In the Bible, it renders Hebrew rethem, the name of a white-flowered shrub unrelated to the European evergreen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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juniper in the Bible

(Heb. rothem), called by the Arabs retem, and known as Spanish broom; ranked under the genus genista. It is a desert shrub, and abounds in many parts of Palestine. In the account of his journey from Akabah to Jerusalem, Dr. Robinson says: "This is the largest and most conspicuous shrub of these deserts, growing thickly in the water-courses and valleys. Our Arabs always selected the place of encampment, if possible, in a spot where it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind; and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under a bush of retem to shelter them from the sun. It was in this very desert, a day's journey from Beersheba, that the prophet Elijah lay down and slept beneath the same shrub" (1 Kings 19:4, 5). It afforded material for fuel, and also in cases of extremity for human food (Ps. 120:4; Job 30:4). One of the encampments in the wilderness of Paran is called Rithmah, i.e., "place of broom" (Num. 33:18). "The Bedawin of Sinai still burn this very plant into a charcoal which throws out the most intense heat."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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