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medlar

[med-ler] /ˈmɛd lər/
noun
1.
a small tree, Mespilus germanica, of the rose family, the fruit of which resembles a crab apple and is not edible until the early stages of decay.
2.
any of certain related trees.
3.
the fruit of any of these trees.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English medler < Anglo-French, equivalent to medle (Old French mesle the fruit < Latin mespilum < Greek méspilon) + -er -er2
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for medlar
  • Try the curd cheese soufflé on rose petals and medlar fruit.
British Dictionary definitions for medlar

medlar

/ˈmɛdlə/
noun
1.
a small Eurasian rosaceous tree, Mespilus germanica
2.
the fruit of this tree, which resembles the crab apple and is not edible until it has begun to decay
3.
any of several other rosaceous trees or their fruits
Word Origin
C14: from Old French medlier, from Latin mespilum medlar fruit, from Greek mespilon
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 medlar
n.

"small fruit-bearing tree," mid-14c. (in reference to the fruit itself), from Old French medler, variant of mesple, from Latin mespila "fruit of the medlar," from Greek mespilion, a foreign word of unknown origin. The Old English name was openærs, literally "open-arse."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for medlar

(species Mespilus germanica), tree of the rose family (Rosaceae), closely allied to the genus Pyrus, in which it is sometimes included. A native of Europe from The Netherlands southward and of western Asia, it occurs in middle and southern England as a small, much-branched, deciduous, spinous tree. The flowers are white or pink-tinged, with five petals. The fruit is globular but depressed above, with leafy, persistent sepals, and contains stones of a hemispheric shape. It is not fit to eat until it begins to decay; then it takes on an agreeable acid and somewhat astringent flavour. Several varieties are cultivated

Learn more about medlar with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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