- any of a genus (Nyssa) of the sour-gum family of tall North American trees found in moist forests or swamps, including the black gum and cotton gum
- the fine-textured wood of such a tree, used for mallets, furniture, etc.
Origin: from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Creek an unverified form 'topilwa, literally , swamp tree from íto, tree plush opílwa, swamp
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. tu·pe·los
- Any of several trees of the genus Nyssa, especially N. aquatica, of the southeast United States, having soft light wood.
- The wood of this tree.
Origin: Probably Creek 'topilwa : íto, tree + opílwa, swamp.