Definition of pawpaw in English:


(also papaw)


  • 1

    another term for papaya

    • ‘If pawpaw is too highly priced people tend to go for something similar like rock melon which is much cheaper.’
    • ‘As well as that, pawpaws have been commercially planted on Rarotonga for over 30 years.’
    • ‘Ugandans grow some fruits, such as oranges, papaws, lemons, and pineapple, and these often serve as between-meal snacks.’
    • ‘My wife chose the exotic fruit platter with star fruit, pawpaw, mango, orange, melon, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and kiwis.’
    • ‘Fruits like oranges, guavas, pawpaws and others will be grown.’
  • 2

    (also pawpaw tree)
    A North American tree of the custard apple family, with purple flowers and edible oblong yellow fruit with sweet pulp.

    Asimina triloba, family Annonaceae

    • ‘So far they have planted lettuce, cabbage, mustard, beetroot and pawpaw trees.’
    • ‘In a nearby field his tomb is a threshing floor bordered by pawpaw trees, sugar cane, sweet potato runners.’
    • ‘The abundance of pawpaw trees, whose fruit tastes like banana custard, amplifies the tropical effect.’
    • ‘Endangered species of pawpaw trees in Florida, for example, grow what botanists call recalcitrant seeds, which don't survive drying and freezing in seed banks.’
    • ‘Here, they were tied up to some pawpaw trees and shot to death.’
    1. 2.1The fruit of the pawpaw tree.
      ‘The true pawpaw, also known as a prairie banana (not to be confused with the tummy banana), is a fruit native to North America.’
      ‘All I remember being fed there is lychees and monkey-bananas, and cool slices of pawpaw.’


Early 17th century from Spanish and Portuguese papaya, of Carib origin. The change in spelling is unexplained.