Definition of calabash in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkaləˌbaSH/


(also calabash tree)
1An evergreen tropical American tree that bears fruit in the form of large woody gourds.
  • Crescentia cujete, family Bignoniaceae.
Example sentences
  • On Lovers' Lane nearby, some young men and women were flirting, while in the corner under a calabash tree some older men sat debating as to whether or not pawpaw leaves were the best bait for catching angel fish.
  • Across the street, the fat man sporting aviator shades and a floppy straw hat loitered behind a calabash tree perusing the Bermuda Sun.
  • In the early part of the 1800s, the area was extensively planted with maize, potatoes, kumara, taro, calabashes, melons and pumpkins.
1.1A gourd from the calabash tree.
Example sentences
  • Peul musicians play handcrafted flutes, drums, and string instruments, and they use calabashes to beat out rhythms.
  • The Mayumbe near the coast paint calabashes, decorating them with hunting scenes and colorful geometric designs.
  • They also make calabashes (decorated gourds used as utensils).
1.2A water container, tobacco pipe, or other object made from the dried shell of the calabash or similar gourd.
Example sentences
  • The animals' shells made good calabashes for water and food.
  • Drinking water was gathered in calabashes from a spring half way up the western face, reached by a brave volunteer lowered on a flax rope.
  • Despite the fact that wooden milk pails are increasingly replaced by plastic and aluminium containers, calabashes still play an important role in the lives of the Kavango.


Mid 17th century: from French calebasse, from Spanish calabaza, perhaps from Persian ḵarbuz 'melon'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cal·a·bash

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