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The fruit of the gamboge (Garcinia xanthochymus; sense 1)

From Late Latin gambaugium, gambogium (resin from trees used to make yellow dye), from Late Latin gambogia (Cambodia). The Latin word was first attested in English as a colour in 1634.



gamboge (countable and uncountable, plural gamboges)

  1. One of several species of trees of the genus Garcinia found in South and Southeastern Asia, especially Garcinia xanthochymus.
    Synonym: cambogia
    • 1877, “Clusia′ceæ, or Guttif′eræ”, in John M[erry] Ross, editor, The Globe Encyclopædia of Universal Information, volume II, Boston, Mass.: Estes & Lauriat, [], OCLC 68781203, page 178, column 2:
      Clusia′ceæ, or Guttif′eræ, a natural order of trees or shrubs belonging to the Dicotyledons (division Thalamifloræ), natives of the humid tropics of S. America. [] Most of the plants have acrid properties, and yield a yellow resin. Among the chief and common plants of the order are Gambooge (q.v.), Mangosteen fruit (Garcinia Mangostana), []
  2. The resin of the gamboge tree; a preparation of the resin used as a pigment or for medicinal purposes. [from early 18th c.]
    • 1735, [John Barrow], “GREENS”, in Dictionarium Polygraphicum: Or, The Whole Body of Arts Regularly Digested. [...], volume I, London: Printed for C[harles] Hitch and C[harles] Davis [], and S[amuel] Austen [], OCLC 987025732:
      Gamboge is one of the firſt yellows, which may be made to produce five or six ſorts of Green with verdegreaſe, according as the gambooge is in the greater or leſſer proportion; if it abounds, it will make a tolerable oak green, and being mixt with a greater quantity of verdegreaſe, it will make a fine graſs Green.
    • 1790, “[Appendix to the Second Volume of the Monthly Review Enlarged.] Art. X. Commentationes Societatis Regiæ Gottingensis. i.e. Memoirs of the Royal Society of Gottingen for the Years 1787 and 1788. 4to. 400 pages. Gottingen. 1789. [book review]”, in The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal, Enlarged, volume XII, London: Printed for R[alph] Griffiths; and sold by T[homas] Becket, [], OCLC 901376714, page 553:
      Concerning the Tree which yields the Gamboge, By Profeſſor J[ames] A. Murray. [] The tree which yields the true gamboge is, by the natives on the coaſt of Coromandel, called Gokathu, and Bokathu; by Dr. König, it is name Guttæfera vera, and Arbor polygama fructu ceraſiformi eduli. [] This tree grows in Siam and Ceylon: in the months of June and July, the natives break off ſome of the leaves and young ſhoots, and a yellow juice drops from the wound, of the conſiſtence of cream, which is collected in cocoa-nut ſhells, and afterwards dried by the ſun.
    • 1825 September 10, “On the Imitation of Foreign Cabinet Woods”, in American Mechanics’ Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal and Gazette, volume II, number 32, New York, N.Y.: Published by C. S. Williams, [], Hutchinson & Bailey, printers, published 1826, OCLC 1015573998, page 99, column 2:
      Chestnut wood, dyed with saffron, or old chestnut, dyed with gambooge, imitates dark mahogany.
    • 1854, Jonathan Pereira, “315. Garciniæ Species Incerta, L.—The Gamboge Plant.”, in The Elements of Materia Medica and Therapeutics. [], volume II, 3rd American edition, Philadelphia, Pa.: Blanchard and Lea, OCLC 757232504, pages 969–970:
      Taken in small doses, gamboge promotes the secretions of the alimentary canal and of the kidneys, and causes more frequent and liquid stools than natural. [] Gamboge belongs to the active hydragogues and drastic purgatives. [] It is exceedingly apt to irritate the stomach, and to occasion nausea and vomiting. This arises from its ready solubility in the gastric juices. As this action on the stomach is exceedingly objectionable, we sometimes endeavour to lessen it by conjoining aloes, or some other substance which diminishes the solubility of gamboge in aqueous fluids, and by giving the medicine in the form of a pill.
    • 1861, M. C. Cooke, “Dye-stuffs of India and China”, in Peter Lund Simmonds, editor, The Technologist. A Monthly Record of Science Applied to Art and Manufacture, volume I, London: Kent & Co., [], OCLC 921221287, pages 132–133:
      That the papers already communicated on this subject might be rendered more complete, we have now added thereto a brief account of such other dyeing substances as are in general use. [] Dyes of animal origin, catechus, gamboges, and other similar products are excluded. [] gamboge and dragon's blood can scarce merit the title of dye-stuffs.
    • 1866, “CAMBOGE”, in Charles Knight, editor, Arts and Sciences or Fourth Division of “The English Cyclopædia”, volume II, London: Bradbury, Evans, & Co., []; New York, N.Y.: Scribner, Welford, & Co., [], OCLC 425825929, column 529:
      At the ordinary temperature of the air camboge has little smell, but when heated it gives out a very peculiar one. Taken into the mouth it has scarcely any perceptible taste, but upon being chewed for some time it causes a sharp, somewhat acrid feeling, ending in a sweet sensation, accompanied with dryness in the mouth. [] Camboge is more extensively used as a pigment than as a medicine.
    • 1866, Frederic John Farre; assisted by Robert Bentley and Robert Warington, “Cambogia, Gamboge”, in Horatio C. Wood, Jr., editor, Manual of Materia Medica & Therapeutics. Being an Abridgement of the Late Dr. Pereira’s Elements of Materia Medica [], Philadelphia, Pa.: Henry C[harles] Lea, OCLC 14854406, pages 778–779:
      Pipe gamboge consists of cylindrical pieces, varying from one to three inches in diameter. Some of them appear to have been formed by rolling; but many of them are striated from the impression of the bamboo stems into the hollow of which the gamboge juice has been poured, [] Pipe gamboge occurs in all qualities—the finest and the worst specimens of gamboge which I ever saw having this form. [] Lump or cake gamboge occurs in masses of several pounds weight. Its quality is inferior to the finest pipe kind.
    • 1874, M. C. Cooke, “Indian Gums and Resins”, in Report by Dr. M. C. Cooke, on the Gums, Resins, Oleo-resins, and Resinous Products in the India Museum, or Produced in India. [], London: India Museum, OCLC 559009295, page 2:
      Of gum resins, the emulsive series including gamboges of all varieties will follow the gums in natural order in consequence of the facility with which they mix and form an emulsion with water.
  3. A deep yellow colour.
    gamboge colour:  

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gamboge (not comparable)

  1. Of a deep yellow colour.


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