One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A white or reddish plant gum, used in the food, textile, and pharmaceutical industries.
- ‘Similar vegetable gums, with the same possible adverse effects, are carrageenan, gum tragacanth, and carob or locust bean gum.’
- ‘Some, such as gum arabic and gum tragacanth, are exuded from the gashed bark of trees.’
- ‘So I find the idea of ‘bleaching’ your skin - using a brew of tragacanth, lavender water, glycerine, boric acid, peroxide and distilled water - pretty scary.’
Late 16th century: from French tragacante, via Latin from Greek tragakantha ‘goat's thorn’, from tragos ‘goat’ (because it is browsed by goats) + akantha ‘thorn’ (referring to the shrub's spines).
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