common name of a type of trees noted for majestic height and the wide-spreading and gracefully curving branches, Old English elm, from Proto-Germanic *elmaz (source also of Danish elm, Old Norse almr, Old High German elme), perhaps from PIE root *el- (2) "red, brown" (see elk); cognate with Latin ulmus, Old Irish lem. German Ulme, Dutch olm are from or influenced by the Latin word. The toughest native European wood, used for ship-building, wheel-naves, etc. Middle English had adjective forms elmen, elmin, which survived longer in poetry. New Haven was informally the Elm City (1871).
updated on September 15, 2020