Definition of gamboge in English:



  • A gum resin produced by various eastern Asian trees, used as a yellow pigment and in medicine as a purgative.

    • ‘If a mixture of gamboge yellow and safflower red had been used in ‘Mane-e-mon’ then the 3-D contour plots Y1 and Y2 would prove that gamboge yellow had been used.’
    • ‘All were identified as gamboge, a yellow gum resin that is an exudate from the Garcinia tree found in India, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.’
    • ‘Despite the inadequate lightfastness and typically dull color appearance of these outmoded historical pigments, the names rose madder, brown madder, carmine, Indian yellow, gamboge, sap green, indigo, van dyke brown and sepia are still frequently used as marketing monnikers for watercolors made with completely unrelated and typically much more lightfast synthetic organic pigments.’
    • ‘The gum-resin from G. hanburyi is often called Siamese gamboge to distinguish it from the similar product from the bark of G. morella Desr., called Indian gamboge.’
    • ‘Among the guilty fugitives, whose departure has made monotone what was polychrome, are indigo, gamboge and brown lake (purple).’
    • ‘Pure gamboge is completely soluble by successive treatment with ether or alcohol and then water.’
    • ‘There are many other wild and cultivated Garcinia spp, some providing sweet fruits, others tart seasonings, medicines, dyes, the artist's pigment gamboge, substances used for tanning leather, and timber.’


Early 18th century (earlier in the Latin form): from modern Latin gambaugium, from Cambodia.