One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An Indian tree which has fleshy edible flowers and yields oil-rich seeds.
- ‘Access to products like mahua (butter tree), tendu leaf and edible gum is a matter of life and death to the tribals.’
- ‘The women also pick up mahua, a kind of flower with which they make liquor.’
- ‘Every part of the famed illupai tree (Madhuca longifolia, mahua in Hindi, or ‘butter tree ‘) can be used.’
- 1.1mass noun An alcoholic drink produced from the nectar-rich flowers of the mahua.
- ‘Lawrence [went] to the wilds of Purulia where he set up home with a Santhal woman, ate begun-pora and drank mahua religiously each evening.’
- ‘He retained mahua liquor and tribal sensuality, but brought in the prissiness of the urban middleclass, plus his own reticence.’
Late 17th century: via Hindi from Sanskrit madhūka, from madhu ‘sweet’.
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