globular fruit of a tree of Indonesia, 1580s, from Malay (Austronesian) durian, from duri "thorn, prickle." So called for its rind.
The durian is deemed by the Siamese the king of fruits. Its smell is offensive to European sense, and I have heard it compared to the stink of carrion and onions mingled. But the exquisite flavour of the fruit renders even its fragrance attractive to its habitués, and it is the only fruit which has ever a considerable money-value in the Siamese market. [Sir John Bowring, "The Kingdom and People of Siam," London, 1857]
updated on October 19, 2018