One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua, native chiefly to the Mediterranean area and North Africa; (also) the multi-seeded pod of this tree, used (especially formerly) as animal fodder.
2Any of several resinous shrubs and trees of the leguminous genus Prosopis (subfamily Mimosoideae), native to Central and South America; especially P. juliflora (formerly P. dulcis); compare "mesquite". Occasionally also applied to other neotropical leguminous trees having similar pods or other characteristics.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Lancelot Addison (1632–1703), dean of Lichfield. From Spanish algarroba carob bean, fruit of mesquite and related American plants from Arabic al-ḵarrūba from al the + ḵarrūba.
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