Definition of babassu in English:


(also babaçu)


  • A Brazilian palm that yields an edible oil which is sometimes used in cosmetics.

    Genus Orbignya, family Palmae

    • ‘One partnership is with the Maranhao tribe of northeast Brazil, who harvest babassu nuts (from Amazonian palm trees), which are used as a cleansing agent in some Aveda shampoos.’
    • ‘Then exchange sensual massages with exotic babassu oil from the Amazon - tinged with essential oils of orange, sandalwood and frankincense.’
    • ‘In the northeastern region of Brazil, near the Amazon, indigenous women harvest nuts from babassu palms.’
    • ‘The rubs harness the soothing properties of babassu oil (harvested from the Amazonian babassu palm) and essential oils.’
    • ‘The babassu palm, which grows in the Brazilian Amazon, is harvested sustainably to provide a natural oil for use in Aveda hair conditioners and as a cleansing ingredient in shampoos.’
    • ‘The shampoo cleanses fine hair with organic coconut and babassu oils and contains calendula, honey and marshmallow to give life to limp strands.’


1920s: from Brazilian Portuguese babaçu, from Tupi ybá ‘fruit’ + guasu ‘large’.