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su·mac also su·mach (smăk, sh-)
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n.
1. Any of various shrubs or small trees of the genera Rhus and Toxicodendron, having compound leaves, clusters of small greenish flowers, and usually red, hairy fruit. Species in the genus Toxicodendron, such as poison sumac, have toxic sap.
2. A tart, dark reddish-brown powder made from the ground dried fruits of a Eurasian sumac (Rhus coriaria), used as a seasoning in Middle Eastern cuisine.

[Middle English, preparation made from sumac, from Old French (possibly via Medieval Latin sumach), from Arabic summāq, sumac tree, from Aramaic, dark red, from səmaq, to be red; see smq in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
(click for a larger image)
sumac
smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 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:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    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.

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