Definition of manchineel in English:



  • A Caribbean tree that has acrid apple-like fruit and poisonous milky sap that can cause temporary blindness.

    Hippomane mancinella, family Euphorbiaceae

    • ‘Tour guide Rob Parenti kept us interested and entertained as the tour boat chugged along through a tangle of red mangroves, with their arching prop roots, and poisonous manchineels, with their shiny, pointed leaves.’
    • ‘If you follow the path to the old orchard, you will also find mahogany trees, easily distinguished from the manchineel since their trunk is rugged, rather than smooth.’
    • ‘While on the beach, keep a lookout for manchineel trees because the fruit and sap is highly poisonous.’
    • ‘The manchineel is highly toxic and possesses a sap that irritates the skin.’
    • ‘There is nothing for her to do but to die under the manchineel tree.’
    • ‘Most manchineels have red warning bands painted round the trunks and danger signs attached.’
    • ‘A picnic lunch was arranged on the beach under a manchineel tree and guest swam in the clear blue waters while John planted coconut trees along the shore.’
    • ‘On many beaches manchineels are marked with red paint on the trunk as a warning.’
    • ‘It is also important not to seek shelter underneath the manchineel tree during a storm, as rainwater can carry the poisonous sap and consequently burn the unfortunate refugees.’
    • ‘However, manchineel is planted as a common shade tree in the Virgin Islands, which makes one wonder just how poisonous it really is!’


Mid 17th century: from French mancenille, from Spanish manzanilla, diminutive of manzana ‘apple’, based on Latin matiana (poma) (neuter plural), denoting a kind of apple.