Definition of piñon in US English:


(also piñon pine, pinyon)


  • 1A small pine tree with edible seeds, native to Mexico and the southwestern US.

    Pinus cemebroides, family Pinaceae

    • ‘Lying at 3,600 to 4,200 feet, Agua Caliente Canyon harbors mostly desert grassland and isolated stands of oak, while pinyon pine and alligator juniper are scattered on the surrounding dry, rocky slopes.’
    • ‘The gravel road wound through stands of piñon pine and gray oak.’
    • ‘In its place are less nutritious sod-forming grasses, pinyons and junipers, which choke out native grasses.’
    • ‘The rutted roads were thick with mostly male and coed groups, camped where the piñons give way to cottonwoods down by the creek.’
    • ‘They stopped for a late lunch on the banks of a trickle of river a few miles farther south, eating their sandwiches and drinking Orange Nehi in the shade of a piñon pine.’
    1. 1.1 A pine nut obtained from the piñon tree.
      • ‘The loss of desert habitat is of special concern to local tribes who ‘gather pinyon nuts from the canyons for food and collect herbs indigenous only to [Cedar Mesa] for traditional medicines and blessing rituals.’’
      • ‘However, the pine nut trees of N. America are important too; the most important are Pinus edulis, P. monophylla, and the Mexican pinyon, P. cembroides.’


Mid 19th century: from Spanish, from Latin pinea ‘pine cone’.