1. A tendril-bearing Old World vine (Citrullus colocynthis) bearing yellowish, green-mottled fruits the size of small lemons.
2. The fruit of this plant, whose dried, bitter, spongy pulp is a very strong laxative. In both senses also called bitter apple.
[Latin colocynthis, from Greek kolokunthis, from kolokunthē, round gourd.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.