Definition of lychee in US English:


(also lichee, litchi)


  • 1A small rounded fruit with sweet white scented flesh, a large central stone, and a thin rough skin.

    • ‘When it comes to bok choy, napa cabbage, mungbean sprouts, snow peas, litchis and kumquats, you no longer have to make a trip to Chinatown.’
    • ‘A good ripe crop from the Gisborne vintage this year produced some aromatic fruit flavours, with hints of Turkish Delight and lychee fruit.’
    • ‘‘In the past few weeks we have transported many boxes of lychees from central and southern Taiwan to the north,’ Chang said, as he unloaded two cartons of the seasonal fruit from the refrigerator installed in the van.’
    • ‘To my mother's relief, I began welcoming her curries with more enthusiasm, and seemed content with lychees or mangoes or even the lowly sapote for dessert.’
    • ‘We walked for about twenty minutes until the sweet aroma of lychees filled the air.’
    • ‘All I remember being fed there is lychees and monkey-bananas, and cool slices of pawpaw.’
    • ‘Based only on my experiences at The City Bakery, lychees are my favorite fruit - and they're not even a fruit!’
    • ‘I picked up some fruits on my way home, so I now have at my disposal apricots, peaches, nectarines, lychee fruit, a mango, and assorted berries.’
    • ‘To follow, I would make the most of those papaya, lychees and passion fruit that are looking so good this month.’
    • ‘It was elegantly garnished with Japanese pomegranates (no seeds) and thin slices of rombutan - a fruit similar to a lychee.’
    • ‘This one has the classic lychee and rose-petal aromas but is comparatively light and refreshing on the palate.’
    • ‘It's rich with exotic spices and flavours of lychees and passion fruit.’
    • ‘Growers of stone fruit, bananas and lychees suffer most.’
    • ‘On the nose, there is surprisingly little fruit, just a damp earthiness, and yet on the palate there is a burst of exotic fruit such as lychees.’
    • ‘The fruit flavours range from common fruits like banana, strawberry and peach, to more exotic fruits like lychee, guava, rambutan and jackfruit.’
    • ‘So if you crave something sweet, try its opulent fruit salad loaded with kiwi, mango, pineapple, grapes and strawberries or tinned lychees (the only fruit that is arguably as good tinned as fresh).’
    • ‘The flesh has the consistency of lychees, and the stone is similar to that of a lychee, but the taste is a cross between a mango, a banana and a lychee.’
    • ‘Doctors suggest drivers avoid eating certain kinds of fruits, such as bananas and litchis, because these fruits can result in inattentiveness, sleepiness and fatigue, which increase the risk of traffic accidents.’
    • ‘The price of litchis, a luscious fruit considered a notch above such as apples and citruses, has been slashed as a result of a bumper crop in South China, making it affordable to ordinary people.’
    • ‘The city features six fruits - lemon, lychee, banana, longan, pomelo and pineapple - and three flowers - narcissus, camellia and orchid.’
  • 2The Chinese tree that bears lychees.

    Nephelium litchi (or Litchi chinensis), family Sapindaceae

    • ‘‘The lychee and longan industry in Hawaii is still quite small, with just a few farms and some productive backyard trees,’ she says.’
    • ‘The three 300-year-old lichee trees in Nantou City have been credited for helping the government-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Wine Co win a gold medal in a recent world wine contest in Geneva.’
    • ‘‘Collecting, preserving, and classifying lychee and longan trees is especially critical,’ Zee emphasizes.’
    • ‘In the lush green foothills above town, I'd found every incline, even a slope that seemed too steep to climb, cultivated with longan, lychee, pineapple, betel nut or banana.’
    • ‘‘The lychee and longan collections here at Hilo are among the best outside of China and southeast Asia,’ says Zee.’
    • ‘His back garden on a hot day could well be in a suburb of Ho Chi Minh City, with its bamboo, lychee, grape vines and images of monkeys.’


Late 16th century: from Chinese lìzhī.