Definition of palmetto in US English:


nounPlural palmettos

  • A fan palm, especially one of a number occurring from the southern US to northern South America.

    Sabal and other genera, family Palmae: several species, in particular the cabbage palmetto (S. palmetto), which is the state tree of Florida (where it is better known as the sabal palm) and South Carolina

    • ‘The sweet spring winds are sweeping down from the north, caressing the live oaks and palmettos.’
    • ‘They resemble palmettos or palms, with long graceful fronds emanating from the top of a squat to elongated trunk.’
    • ‘We were allowed to linger over coffee and admire the cypress trees and palmettos in the Sipsey swamp area between Tuscaloosa and Meridian.’
    • ‘The young marsh rabbit has made it to the far bank, a knee-high jungle of ragged palmettos like miniature palm trees.’
    • ‘In the center of campus, wedged between the six outer buildings, was the Mason Courtyard, a large stone courtyard, filled with groves of magnolias and palmettos.’
    • ‘Winding roads are bordered by palmettos, crape myrtle and live oaks draped with Spanish moss.’
    • ‘Here in Florida, we are partial to our palmettos.’
    • ‘Tall palmettos and a multi-trunked crape myrtle make a leafy canopy overhead, helping to hide the patio from neighbors.’
    • ‘There is a scene drawn on the body of the amphora, of two wreaths of lotus blossoms and palmettos on the amphora's body.’
    • ‘This community is dominated by the same oak species that occur in rosemary scrub, palmettos (Sabal etonia, Serenoa repens), lyonias (Lyonia lucida, L. ferruginea) and blueberry,.’


Mid 16th century: from Spanish palmito, literally ‘small palm’, diminutive of palma, assimilated to Italian words ending in -etto.