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palm1 / pä(l)m/ • n. (also palm tree) an unbranched evergreen tree (family Palmae or Arecaceae) with a crown of long feathered or fan-shaped leaves, and typically having old leaf scars forming a regular pattern on the trunk. Palms grow in tropical and warm regions, and many are of great commercial importance, esp. the oil palm, date palm, and coconut. ∎  a leaf of such a tree awarded as a prize or viewed as a symbol of victory or triumph. palm2 • n. the inner surface of the hand between the wrist and fingers. ∎  a part of a glove that covers this part of the hand. ∎  a hard shield worn on the hand by sailmakers to protect the palm in sewing. ∎  the palmate part of an antler. • v. 1. [tr.] conceal (a card or other small object) in the hand, esp. as part of a trick or theft: he would spin wild tales while palming your wristwatch. 2. [tr.] hit (something) with the palm of the hand. ∎ Basketball illegally grip (the ball) with the hand while dribbling. PHRASES: have (or hold) someone in the palm of one's hand have someone under one's control or influence: she had the audience in the palm of her hand. read someone's palm tell someone's fortune by looking at the lines on their palm.PHRASAL VERBS: palm someone off inf. persuade someone to accept something by deception: most sellers are palmed off with a fraction of what something is worth. palm something off sell or dispose of something by misrepresentation or fraud: they palmed off their shoddiest products on the Russians.DERIVATIVES: pal·mar / ˈpalmər; ˈpä(l)mər/ adj. palmed adj. [in comb.] sweaty-palmed. palm·ful / -fəl/ n.

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PALM (Heb. תָּמָר, mishnaic Heb. דֶּקֶל), the Phoenix dactylifera. In the Bible the word tamar refers only to the tree; it refers to the fruit also only in rabbinic literature. According to rabbinic tradition, the "honey" enumerated among the seven species with which Israel is blessed (Deut. 8:8) is the honey of the date. The date palm is tall and straight (Song 7:8–9), and the righteous are compared to its straight trunk and evergreen foliage (Ps. 92: 13). In its shade the prophet Deborah judged the people (Judg. 4:5). Because of the arched appearance of the tree top, it is also called kippah, symbolizing the "head" (Isa. 9:13, 19:15). Its long leaves are called the kappot of the palm tree and are one of the *four species taken on the feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40). According to the rabbis, the "kappot of palm" means the lulav, this being the stage when the leaves are close together (kafut, Suk. 32a). The tradition of using the closed leaves and not the open ones termed ḥarut may originate in the potential danger from the prickly leaflets of the latter, especially during festival processions (cf. Suk. 4:6). The palm needs a hot climate for its fruit to ripen and grows mainly in the valley of Jericho, the lowland of the southern coast, and the plains of the wilderness, so that Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel asserted that "palms are an indication of valleys" (Pes. 53a). It does grow in the mountains but does not produce edible fruit there, whence the rebuke, "You are a mountain palm" (Sifra, ed. by J.H. Weiss (1862), 68a). It was therefore laid down that first fruits may not be brought from mountain palms (Bik. 1: 3), but only from those growing in Jericho (Tosef. ibid. 1:5, cf. Deut. 34:3). Dates were a valuable export (Dem. 2:1), and Pliny refers to the reputation of the Jericho dates and their excellent quality (Natural History 13:45). He describes four varieties of dates, which are also mentioned in the Mishnah (Av. Zar. 1:5). In the Bible a number of places are named after the palm: Hazazon Tamar (Gen. 14:7), Ba'al Tamar (Jud. 20:33); Tadmor (Palmyra, i Kings 9:18). Three women were named Tamar: *Judah's daughter-in-law, *David's daughter, and *Absalom's daughter. Its beautiful form was used as a model for sculpture (cf. Jer. 10:5). There were ornaments like timmorot ("palm trees") in the Temple (i Kings 6:29; cf. Ez. 40:16, timmorim). The aggadah compares Isaac and Rebekah (Lev. R. 30: 10), Moses and Aaron (Targ. to Song 2:12), David and the Messiah with the palm tree (pdre 19). The Hasmoneans took the palm as an emblem of their victory (i Macc. 13:37; ii Macc. 14:4), and it appears on their coins. The Romans also engraved the image of captive Judea – Judea capta – sitting in mourning beneath the palm. A palm branch symbolizes the victory of the Jew against his accusers (Lev. R. 30:2): "dreaming of palm trees is a sign that one's sins have come to an end"; "dreaming of a lulav ["palm branch"] indicates that one is serving God wholeheartedly" (Ber. 57a).

Rabbinic literature contains much information about the growing of palm trees. Among other things, it mentions that there are male and female palms, that it is necessary to pollinate the female from the male blossom in order to obtain fruit, and that this must be done during a limited number of days (cf. Pes. 4:8). It is asserted that "the palm has desire," and in that connection the story is told of a female palm in the vicinity of Tiberias which longed for a palm in Jericho, and only began to yield fruit after being pollinated by it (Gen. R. 41:1). Of its many uses the Midrash (ibid.) says: "As no part of the palm has any waste, the dates being eaten, the branches used for Hallel, the twigs for covering [booths], the bast for ropes, the leaves for besoms, and the planed boards for ceiling rooms, so are there none worthless in Israel.…"


Loew, Flora, 2 (1924), 306–62; H.N. and A.L. Moldenke, Plants of the Bible (1952), index; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 40–47. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Tzome'aḥ, 49, 171.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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palm an unbranched evergreen tree with a crown of very long feathered or fan-shaped leaves, and typically having old leaf scars forming a regular pattern on the trunk. The leaf of this tree was traditionally awarded as a prize or viewed as a symbol of victory or triumph.
In Christian symbolism, the palm is used as a festive emblem on Palm Sunday, and was also the sign of a pilgrim who was returning or had returned from the Holy Land (a palmer). In northern countries, palm may be used for other shrubs, such as sallow or pussy willow, which are used on Palm Sunday. A palm is also a symbol of virginity.

Recorded in Old English and of Germanic origin, the word is ultimately related to Latin palma ‘palm (of a hand)’, its leaf being likened to a spread hand.
Palm Court a large room or patio, especially in a hotel, decorated with palm trees; the term Palm Court music is used to designate light orchestral music of a kind frequently played in a Palm Court.
Palm Sunday the Sunday before Easter, on which Christ's entry into Jerusalem is celebrated in many Christian churches by processions in which branches of palms are carried. The name is recorded from Old English.

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palm1 tree of the (chiefly tropical) family Palmae: leaf or ‘branch’ of a palm tree OE.; branch or sprig of a tree substituted for the palm in Palm Sunday processions XIV. OE. palm(a), palme = OS., OHG. palma (Du. palm, G. palme), ON. pálmr; Gmc. — L. palma PALM2 (the palmleaf was likened to the hand with the fingers extended). In ME. the word coincided with the repr. of AN. (modF.) palme, OF. paume. Palm Sunday Sunday next before Easter, on which processions are held in which palms are carried. OE. palm-sunnandæġ, tr. ecclL. Dominica Palmarum.
Hence palmy abounding in palms; flourishing. XVII.

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palm Monocotyledon tree found in tropical and sub- tropical regions. Palms have a woody, unbranched trunk with a crown of large, stiff leaves. The leaves may be palmate (fan-like) or pinnate (feather-like). Fibres cover the trunks of palm trees. All palms produce drupes, such as date or coconut. Palms are a source of wax, oil, fibre, and sugar. Height: 60m (200ft). Family Arecacae/Palmae. See also liana

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palm. Palm-leaves occur in Ancient Egyptian decoration (especially palmiform capitals). Flat palm-fronds with curved ends appear in a unique type of Corinthian capital at the Tower of the Winds, Athens (c.50 bc), often copied on C18 capitals, friezes, and other mouldings.

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palmalarm, arm, Bairam, balm, barm, becalm, calm, charm, embalm, farm, forearm, Guam, harm, imam, ma'am, malm, Montcalm, Notre-Dame, palm, psalm, qualm, salaam, smarm •yardarm • sidearm • gendarme •wind farm • Islam • schoolmarm •tonearm • napalm • firearm •underarm • short-arm

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palm2 part of the hand between the fingers and the wrist; flat part of a deer's horn XIV; measure of length XV. ME. paume — (O)F. paume = Sp., It. palma :— L. palma palm of the hand, part of the trunk of a tree from which branches spring, palm-leaf, palm-tree (see prec.), rel. obscurely to Gr. palámē palm of the hand, Ir. lám hand, OE. folm. ME. paume, through paulme (also OF.), was finally assim. to the L.
Hence palm vb. XVII.

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