Student Dictionary

2 entries found for walnut.
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Main Entry: wal·nut
Pronunciation: primarystresswodotl-(secondarystress)nschwat
Function: noun
Etymology: Old English wealhhnutu, literally "foreign nut," from Wealh "Welshman, foreigner" + hnutu "nut" --related to WELSH
1 a : an edible nut of any of a genus of trees related to the hickories; especially : the large nut of a Eurasian tree b : a tree that produces walnuts -- compare BLACK WALNUT c : the usually reddish to dark brown wood of a walnut that is widely used for cabinetwork and veneers
2 : a medium reddish brown
Word History Long before walnut trees were introduced into England, they were cultivated for their tasty nuts in southern Europe. The nut tree native to the more northern areas of Europe was the hazel. In order to tell apart the native hazelnut and the less familiar walnut, Old English called the walnut wealhhnutu, which means "foreign nut." This word is a compound of wealh, "foreigner" and hnutu "nut." The Old English word wealh has supplied us with another word as well. While wealh meant "foreigner" in a general sense, it was applied specifically by the Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britain to the native people they found living on the island. Wealh gave rise to the modern forms Welsh, Welshman, and Welshwoman.

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