One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A tall palm tree that is native to the Seychelles and has an immense, seaborne nut in a hard, woody shell, which is the largest known seed.
- ‘The huge seed of the coco de mer is unique to the Seychelles islands in the western Indian Ocean.’
- ‘As we weave among almond trees and coco de mers, our driver tells us that some guests never leave their cottages.’
- ‘The so-called coco de mer, or ‘double coconut’, is not a true coconut, and is described separately.’
- 1.1 The large nut of the coco de mer.
- ‘She says that she recognised the spiritual and sexual significance of the coco de mer nut, which is seen as a potent and particularly feminine symbol of fertility.’
Early 19th century: from French coco-de-mer, literally ‘coco from the sea’ (because the tree was first known from nuts found floating in the sea).
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