tragacanth

tragacanth

[trag-uh-kanth, traj-]
noun
a gummy substance derived from various low, spiny, Asian shrubs belonging to the genus Astragalus, of the legume family, especially A. gummifer: used to impart firmness to pills and lozenges, stiffen calicoes, etc.
Also called gum tragacanth.


Origin:
1565–75; < Latin tragacantha goat's thorn < Greek tragákantha, equivalent to trág(os) goat + ákantha thorn. Cf. tragedy, acantho-

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World English Dictionary
tragacanth (ˈtræɡəˌkænθ)
 
n
1.  any of various spiny leguminous plants of the genus Astragalus, esp A. gummifer, of Asia, having clusters of white, yellow, or purple flowers, and yielding a substance that is made into a gum
2.  the gum obtained from any of these plants, used in the manufacture of pills and lozenges, etc
 
[C16: from French tragacante, from Latin tragacantha goat's thorn, from Greek tragakantha, from tragos goat + akantha thorn]

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