One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A red, plum-sized tropical fruit with soft spines and a slightly acidic taste.
- ‘U.S. agricultural quarantines have prohibited importing fresh rambutans from their native Southeast Asia, but the fruit is now grown in Hawaii.’
- ‘Besides pineapples, Hawaii's fruit industry produces papayas, bananas, guavas, avocados, and other specialty fruit, including mangoes, lychees, rambutans, and starfruits.’
- ‘Spiky red rambutans, so easy to peel, were their favourite.’
- ‘The durian, mango, rambutan, mangosteen, pineapple and other fruits are displayed in the market along with a large selection of seafood.’
- ‘While the rambutans were there, as well as all the cakes, we were filled by the BBQ dishes and turned down offers of coffee and cakes, despite the name of the restaurant.’
2The Malaysian tree that bears the rambutan fruit.
- ‘A guide told us that the night before our visit, 300 rambutan trees went from fruit-laden to bald.’
- ‘Kebayoran Baru was just a large plantation mostly with rambutan and durian trees, just like other suburbs here.’
- ‘Others in the same genus are the longan, rambutan, and pulasan.’
Early 18th century: from Malay rambūtan, from rambut ‘hair’, with allusion to the fruit's spines.
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