Definition of papaya in English:



  • 1A tropical fruit shaped like an elongated melon, with edible orange flesh and small black seeds.

    Also called pawpaw
    • ‘Lutein is found in spinach, leeks, peas, kiwi fruits, black grapes and romaine lettuce, while rich sources of zeaxanthin include sweetcorn, red peppers, nectarines, papaya and honeydew melon.’
    • ‘Orange, papaya, carrot, whole milk and butter, all green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and raw bananas are rich in vitamin A. Vitamin D is chiefly obtained from exposing the skin to natural sunshine.’
    • ‘Halve the papaya, scoop out the seeds, peel the flesh then chop roughly.’
    • ‘Scoop the seeds out of a melon or a medium papaya, and fill this edible bowl with 1/2 cup of ice cream.’
    • ‘Make an unusual, tasty and colourful salad with steamed spinach and fruits such as apples, grapes, orange segments, papaya and melon.’
  • 2The fast-growing tree which bears the papaya, native to warm regions of America. It is widely cultivated for its fruit, both for eating and for papain production.

    Carica papaya, family Caricaceae

    • ‘The papaya, from the tree Carica Papaya, is also known as mamao, tree melon, or pawpaw (not to be confused with the true pawpaw).’
    • ‘Some papaya trees thrive in cold weather, like Carica pubescens, from Colombia, or C. stipulata, from Ecuador.’
    • ‘Each house stands in a garden in the midst of coconut, mango, papaya, and other trees.’
    • ‘Fast-growing papayas like sun and a well-draining, organically enriched soil and water.’
    • ‘Here and now, in a cooperative of 36 families, papaya and lime trees shaded thatched houses elegantly constructed of smooth wooden poles.’


Late 16th century: from Spanish and Portuguese (see pawpaw).