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sweet gum

noun
1.
a tall, aromatic tree, Liquidambar styraciflua, of the eastern U.S., having star-shaped leaves and fruits in rounded, burlike clusters.
2.
the hard reddish-brown wood of this tree, used for making furniture.
3.
the amber balsam exuded by this tree, used in the manufacture of perfumes and medicines.
Also called red gum (for defs 1, 2).
Origin
1690-1700
1690-1700, Americanism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for sweet gum
  • He and his friends had been peacefully roaming in the shaded forest, snapping branches filled with sweet gum.
  • The area boasts beautiful mature hardwoods, including cypress, sweet gum and red and water oak.
  • The forest is characterized by several species of oak, hickory and sweet gum.
British Dictionary definitions for sweet gum

sweet gum

noun
1.
a North American liquidambar tree, Liquidambar styraciflua, having prickly spherical fruit clusters and fragrant sap: the wood (called satin walnut) is used to make furniture Compare sour gum
2.
the sap of this tree
Often shortened to red gum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for sweet gum

any of about four species of flowering plants within the genus Altingia, family Altingiaceae, native to North America and Asia and valued for resin, timber, and ornament.

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