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[too-puh-loh, tyoo-] /ˈtu pəˌloʊ, ˈtyu-/
noun, plural tupelos.
any of several trees of the genus Nyssa, having ovate leaves, clusters of minute flowers, and purple, berrylike fruit, especially N. aquatica, of swampy regions of the eastern, southern, and midwestern U.S.
the soft, light wood of these trees.
Origin of tupelo
1720-30, Americanism; perhaps < Creek *’topilwa literally, swamp tree (equivalent to íto tree + opílwa swamp)


[too-puh-loh, tyoo-] /ˈtu pəˌloʊ, ˈtyu-/
a city in NE Mississippi. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tupelo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The poison-ivy is in its glory, and no tupelo, no sugar-maple, can rival its scarlet and vermilion.

    In the Open Stanton Davis Kirkham
  • It is not, however, as purely a swamp tree as tupelo and cypress.

    American Forest Trees Henry H. Gibson
  • tupelo gum is now used in slack cooperage, principally for heading.

    Seasoning of Wood Joseph B. Wagner
  • I refer you to Colonel Tison, who is in tupelo, for the particulars.

    The Iron Furnace John H. Aughey
  • The lady of the house, scrutinizing me closely, asked me if I were from tupelo.

    The Iron Furnace John H. Aughey
British Dictionary definitions for tupelo


noun (pl) -los
any of several cornaceous trees of the genus Nyssa, esp N. aquatica, a large tree of deep swamps and rivers of the southern US
the light strong wood of any of these trees
Word Origin
C18: from Creek ito opilwa, from ito tree + opilwa swamp
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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Word Origin and History for tupelo

black gum tree, 1730, apparently from Cree (Algonquian) ito opilwa "swamp tree."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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