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1. Any of several spiny Asian shrubs of the genus Astragalus of the pea family, especially A. gummifer, of the Middle East, yielding a gum used in pharmaceuticals, adhesives, and textile printing, and as an emulsifier and thickener in foods.
2. The gum of any of these plants.
[Latin tragacantha, from Greek tragakantha : tragos, goat (probably from the resemblance of the drops of hardened gum to tiny goat horns in shape, color, and texture when they are collected off the plant); see tragic + akantha, thorn, spine.]
1. (Plants) any of various spiny leguminous plants of the genus Astragalus, esp A. gummifer, of Asia, having clusters of white, yellow, or purple flowers, and yielding a substance that is made into a gum
2. (Plants) the gum obtained from any of these plants, used in the manufacture of pills and lozenges, etc
[C16: from French tragacante, from Latin tragacantha goat's thorn, from Greek tragakantha, from tragos goat + akantha thorn]
trag•a•canth(ˈtræg əˌkænθ, ˈtrædʒ-)
a gum of various Asian shrubs belonging to the genus Astragalus, of the legume family, used as a filler, as in pills, and to stiffen calico.
[1565–75; < Latin tragacantha goat's thorn < Greek tragákantha=trág(os) goat + ákantha thorn]