Etymology
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palm (n.2)

tropical tree of the order Palmae; the date-palm, Middle English palme, from Old English palma, Old French palme, both from Latin palma "palm tree," originally "palm of the hand;" the tree so called from the shape of its leaves, like fingers of a hand (see palm (n.1)).

The word traveled early to northern Europe, where the tree does not grow, via Christianity, and took root in the local languages (such as Old Saxon palma, Old High German palma, Old Norse palmr); Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, is Old English palm-sunnandæg. In ancient times, a leaf or frond of the palm was carried or worn as a symbol of victory or triumph, or on feast days; hence figurative use of palm for "victory, triumph" (late 14c.).

Palm Beach, Florida, named for the palm groves there, was established as a luxury resort c. 1900 by railroad magnate Henry Flagler. Palm court "large room in a hotel, etc., usually decorated with potted palms" is recorded by 1908.

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palm (v.)

"impose (something) on (someone) by fraud," 1670s, from palm (n.1); around the same time it also meant "conceal in the palm of the hand" (1670s) and "handle, manipulate" (1680s). Extended form palm off (something, on someone) is from 1822.

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palm (n.1)

"flat of the hand, inner surface of the hand between the wrist and the fingers," c. 1300, paume, from Old French paume, palme (Modern French paume), from Latin palma "palm of the hand," also "flat end of an oar; palm tree," from PIE root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread" (source also of Greek palamē "open hand," Old Irish lam, Welsh llaw, Old English folm, Old High German folma "hand," Sanskrit panih "hand, hoof").

Palm oil is earlier in the punning sense of "bribe" (1620s) than in the literal sense of "fatty oil obtained from the fruit of the West African palm" (1705, from palm (n.2)).

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palm-tree (n.)

"tree or shrub of the order Palmae," Old English palm-treo; see palm (n.2) + tree (n.).

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palmetto (n.)

type of fan-leaf palm, 1580s, from Spanish palmito "dwarf fan palm tree," diminutive of palma "palm tree," from Latin palma (see palm (n.2)). The suffix was subsequently Italianized. The Palmetto Flag was an emblem of South Carolina after secession (1860); the state was called Palmetto State from at least 1837.

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palmar (adj.)

"of or pertaining to the palm of the hand," 1650s, from Latin palmaris, from palma "palm of the hand" (see palm (n.1)). Palmate "resembling or like an open hand with the fingers extended" is from 1760, from palm (n.1) + -ate (1). Related: Palmately.

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date (n.2)

"fruit of the date-palm," c. 1300, from Old French date, from Old Provençal datil, from Latin dactylus, from Greek daktylos "date," originally "finger, toe." Said to be so called because of fancied resemblance between oblong fruit of the date palm and human digits, but some say it is from the resemblance of the plant's leaves to the palm of the hand. It's also possible that this sense of daktylos is a word from a Semitic source (compare Hebrew deqel, Aramaic diqla, Arabic daqal "date palm") that has been assimilated by folk-etymology to the Greek word for "finger." Date-palm is from 1837; the earlier word was date-tree (c. 1400).

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tamarind (n.)
c. 1400, "fruit of the tamarind tree, used medicinally," ultimately from Arabic tamr hindi, literally "date of India," from hind "India." First element cognate with Hebrew tamar "palm tree, date palm." Of the tree itself, from 1610s.
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palmy (adj.)

"triumphant, flourishing," literally "worthy of the palm" (of victory or triumph), c. 1600, from palm (n.2) in the "triumph" sense + -y (2). The meaning "full of palms" attested from 1660s.

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palmer (n.)

"pilgrim; itinerant monk going from shrine to shrine under a perpetual vow of poverty;" originally "pilgrim who has returned from the Holy Land," c. 1300, palmere (mid-12c. as a surname), from Anglo-French palmer (Old French palmier), from Medieval Latin palmarius, from Latin palma "palm tree" (see palm (n.2)). So called because they wore palm branches in commemoration of the journey. "The distinction between pilgrim and palmer seems never to have been closely observed" [Century Dictionary].

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