A small Eurasian ornamental tree (Prunus mahaleb) of the rose family, having white flowers and small black drupes, each with a single whitish or buff-colored seed. The seeds are ground and used to flavor breads, pastries, and cheese in Middle Eastern cuisine.
[Arabic maḥlab, from ḥalaba, to milk; see x̣lb in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.