1. (Science: botany) A tree (carica papaya) of tropical America, belonging to the order Passifloreae. It has a soft, spongy stem, eighteen or twenty feet high, crowned with a tuft of large, long-stalked, palmately lobed leaves. The milky juice of the plant is said to have the property of making meat tender. Also, its dull orange-coloured, melon-shaped fruit, which is eaten both raw and cooked or pickled.
Origin: Prob. From the native name in the West Indies; cf. Sp. Papayo papaw, papaya the fruit of the papaw
Alternative forms: pawpaw.