c.1300, from Old French almande, amande, from Vulgar Latin *amendla, *amandula, from Latin amygdala (plural), from Greek amygdalos "an almond tree," of unknown origin, perhaps a Semitic word. Altered in Medieval Latin by influence of amandus "loveable," and acquiring in French an excrescent -l- perhaps from Spanish almendra "almond," which got it via confusion with the Arabic definite article al-, which formed the beginnings of many Spanish words. Applied to eyes shaped like almonds, especially of certain Asiatic peoples, from 1870.
a native of Syria and Palestine. In form, blossoms, and fruit it resembles the peach tree. Its blossoms are of a very pale pink colour, and appear before its leaves. Its Hebrew name, _shaked_, signifying "wakeful, hastening," is given to it on account of its putting forth its blossoms so early, generally in February, and sometimes even in January. In Eccl. 12:5, it is referred to as illustrative, probably, of the haste with which old age comes. There are others, however, who still contend for the old interpretation here. "The almond tree bears its blossoms in the midst of winter, on a naked, leafless stem, and these blossoms (reddish or flesh-coloured in the beginning) seem at the time of their fall exactly like white snow-flakes. In this way the almond blossom is a very fitting symbol of old age, with its silvery hair and its wintry, dry, barren, unfruitful condition." In Jer. 1:11 "I see a rod of an almond tree [shaked]...for I will hasten [shaked] my word to perform it" the word is used as an emblem of promptitude. Jacob desired his sons (Gen. 43:11) to take with them into Egypt of the best fruits of the land, almonds, etc., as a present to Joseph, probably because this tree was not a native of Egypt. Aaron's rod yielded almonds (Num. 17:8; Heb. 9:4). Moses was directed to make certain parts of the candlestick for the ark of carved work "like unto almonds" (Ex. 25:33, 34). The Hebrew word _luz_, translated "hazel" in the Authorized Version (Gen. 30:37), is rendered in the Revised Version "almond." It is probable that _luz_ denotes the wild almond, while _shaked_ denotes the cultivated variety.