a. A spiny evergreen tree (Citrus limon) native to Asia, widely cultivated for its oval yellow fruit.
b. The fruit of this tree, having an aromatic rind and juicy, acid pulp.
2. Lemon yellow.
3. Informal One that is unsatisfactory or defective: Their new car turned out to be a lemon.
a. Made from lemons.
b. Tasting or smelling like lemons.
[Middle English limon, from Old French, from Old Italian limone, from Arabic laymūn, ultimately from alteration (probably influenced by an Andalusian Romance augmentative suffix akin to Spanish -ón) of Persian līmū, lemon, any of various citrus fruits; see LIME.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.