- any of various shrubs and small trees (genus Rhus) of the cashew family, including poison sumac and several nonpoisonous plants
- the pulverized dried leaves of some of these nonpoisonous plants (esp. Rhus coriaria), used in tanning and dyeing
- the wood of any of these plants
Origin of sumacMiddle English sumac ; from Middle French ; from Arabic summ?q
- Any of various shrubs or small trees of the genera Rhus and Toxicodendron, having compound leaves, clusters of small greenish flowers, and usually red, hairy fruit. Species in the genus Toxicodendron, such as poison sumac, have toxic sap.
- A tart, dark reddish-brown powder made from the ground dried fruits of a Eurasian sumac (Rhus coriaria), used as a seasoning in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Origin of sumacMiddle English, preparation made from sumac, from Old French (possibly via Medieval Latin sumach), from Arabic summ&amacron;q, sumac tree, from Aramaic, dark red, from s&schwa;maq, to be red; see smq in Semitic roots.
(usually uncountable, plural sumacs)