Definition of kapok in English:



mass noun
  • 1A fine, fibrous cotton-like substance which grows around the seeds of the ceiba tree, used as stuffing for cushions, soft toys, etc.

    • ‘Nights of stuffing this sculpture with kapok, a new substance for the job, sent me into bouts of itching.’
    • ‘The material kapok, the soft fibrous covering of the seeds of a tropical tree, is familiar as a lining and stuffing material.’
    • ‘Indeed, the very material used by British teddy-bear manufacturers in the 1920s and 1930s was kapok, a cotton-like material that was lighter, softer and more hygienic than wood shavings, cork or horsehair.’
    • ‘Beneath the brown velvet of the seed capsules, a white kapok of cottony seed-parachutes packs the core.’
    • ‘‘The firm which makes them fills the stout canvas covers with kapok, a substance like silky cotton wool.’’
    • ‘Youngsters may have heard of kapok fillings in various sports equipment and sleeping bags.’
    • ‘While still on the tree, the fruits burst open exposing the cotton like substance, which is the kapok of commerce.’
    • ‘He fetches his favorite toy, an ancient stinky ball of kapok and synthetic fur, cured and flavored by two years spent outdoors in all seasons.’
    • ‘Some even of these - like jute, sisal, coir, and kapok - only began to be imported into Britain from the nineteenth century onwards.’
    • ‘Models will show off a range of garments made from hemp, nettle, flax, kapok, peat, bamboo, cellulose fibres and a new polymer made from starch called PLA, plus animal fibres including wool, angora, alpaca, mohair and llama.’
    • ‘When the pillow is kneaded a little, the thumb and forefinger will come right together if it's kapok.’
    • ‘The nice thing about kapok is that you can refluff it every once in a while to keep its original floatation.’
    • ‘At the store my parents bought me a stuffed dog with a music box embedded in the kapok.’
    • ‘The Carib Indians used kapok for drums and canoes but otherwise sheathed their axes in regard to the tree.’
    • ‘In addition to these attributes the kapok fiber is totally water repellent and resistant to rot.’
    padding, wadding, lining, filling, quilting, cushioning, upholstery, packing, filler
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      another term for ceiba
      • ‘The kapok is a large, deciduous, tropical tree that has attractive leaves and clusters of yellow, white or pink flowers.’
      • ‘Due to insect infestation, only thirty-two out of the 120 precious kapok trees along Chungcheng Road are still alive.’
      • ‘Now the hunt for more soaring specimens of kapok, wild ficus, Dead Man's Tree, and gnarled kenip continues, as efforts to save the trees gain steam.’
      • ‘Cutting a kapok tree of that size is no easy task and the man soon tires and falls asleep at the base of the tree.’
      • ‘Because the unopened fruit won't sink when submerged in water, many believe the fruit of the kapok tree floated its way from Latin America to Africa.’
      • ‘In many places the straight trunks of the kapok tree are used to make dugout canoes.’
      • ‘Dick studied the rainforest form of Ceiba pentandra, a species of kapok that grows taller than a 16-story building, its head poking above the forest canopy.’
      • ‘If you want to see a beautiful kapok tree on St. John, one can be found on the Reef Bay Trail.’
      • ‘As part of this showcase for sustainability, there are more than 10,000 plants from many climatic zones (including huge kapok trees, coconut palms and Saint Helena ebony, once thought extinct).’
      • ‘In the Virgin Islands the tamarind and the kapok are the two species most commonly held to be spirit trees.’
      • ‘The rectory blinked in amber glitters between a scraggly screen of kapok trees fronting it.’
      • ‘In addition, those strange looking boab trees, tall livistona palms, beautiful water lilies, colourful kapok bushes and kurrajong trees are all special sights across this unique landscape.’


Mid 18th century: from Malay kapuk.