type of coniferous tree with needle-shaped deciduous leaves, 1548, (William Turner, "Names of Herbes"), from German Lärche, from Middle High German larche, from Old High German *larihha, from Latin larix (genitive laricis), probably a loan-word from an Alpine Gaulish language. De Vaan discourages the suggestion that it could be related to Old Celtic *darik- "oak."
Native to the Alps; the name later was extended to North American species. Compare Danish lærke, Dutch lorken, also from Latin. In French, Old French larice was replaced by mélèze (14c.), a word of uncertain origin.
updated on May 07, 2016