One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large West African tree, Tieghemella heckelii, of the family Sapotaceae; the reddish- or purplish-brown, sometimes dark-streaked, wood of this tree.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in John H. Holland (b. 1869). From a language of Ivory Coast, probably via French (not attested in French before 1931).
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