from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The mastic tree.
  • noun The aromatic resin of the mastic tree, used in varnishes and as a flavoring and formerly in chewing gum and as a medicine.
  • noun A pastelike cement used in highway construction, especially one made with powdered lime or brick and tar.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A resinous substance obtained from the common mastic-tree, Pistacia Lentiscus, a small tree about 12 feet high, native in the countries around the Mediterranean.
  • noun A similar resin yielded by some other plant.
  • noun A mastic-tree.
  • noun A distilled liquor, most commonly obtained from grapes or grape-skins after the wine is pressed, flavored with the gum mastic and sometimes with anise or fennel, becoming opaline when mixed with water, much drunk in Turkey, Greece, and the islands. The best is made in Chios.—5. A kind of mortar or cement used for plastering walls.
  • Adhesive, as or with gum or mastic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A low shrubby tree of the genus Pistacia (Pistacia Lentiscus), growing upon the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean, and producing a valuable resin; -- called also, mastic tree.
  • noun A resin exuding from the mastic tree, and obtained by incision. The best is in yellowish white, semitransparent tears, of a faint smell, and is used as an astringent and an aromatic, also as an ingredient in varnishes.
  • noun A kind of cement composed of burnt clay, litharge, and linseed oil, used for plastering walls, etc.
  • noun (Bot.) the Pistachia Atlantica.
  • noun (Bot.) a small tree (Schinus Molle) with peppery red berries; -- called also pepper tree.
  • noun (Bot.) a lofty tree (Bursera gummifera) full of gum resin in every part.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An evergreen shrub or small tree, Pistacia lentiscus, native to the Mediterranean.
  • noun A hard, brittle, aromatic and transparent resin produced by this tree and used to make varnishes and chewing gum, and as a flavouring.
  • noun A flexible, waterproof cement used as an adhesive, sealant or filler.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an aromatic exudate from the mastic tree; used chiefly in varnishes
  • noun an evergreen shrub of the Mediterranean region that is cultivated for its resin
  • noun a pasty cement used as an adhesive or filler


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, mastic resin, from Old French mastich, from Latin mastichum, mastichē, from Greek mastikhē, chewing gum, mastic, from mastikhān, to grind the teeth.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin mastiche, from Ancient Greek μαστίχη (mastikhē), from μαστιχάω (mastikhaō, "I chew") (note the chewing gum sense).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word mastic.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "The hot black mastic sucking at their shoes and stretching in thin bands as they stepped."

    The Road

    by Cormac McCarthy

    ISBN 0307265439

    page 41

    February 19, 2007

  • Usage note in comment on cursus publicus.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Mastic, for example, an aromatic resin, is produced by a species of acacia that grows only on the Aegean island of Chios."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 10.

    "Of course not everything that is rare is necessarily valuable. Mastic, a resin derived from a plant in the acacia family, grows only in Chios (an Aegean island) and was highly valued and expensive in the Middle Ages. As earlier discussed, it was used in medicine, as both a fumigant and an oral drug, and to a lesser extent in cooking. So valuable was it that Columbus mentioned it in his first exultant letter to Ferdinand and Isabella along with such things as gold and silver, as precious commodities he was (wrongly) sure he had found. Unlike other important medieval aromatics, mastic has never been transplanted and it still grows only in Chios (and only in southern Chios at that), so its supply remains quite limited. Nevertheless, today it has only marginal value as a flavoring in some Greek and Turkish sweets and liqueurs. The price of mastic is merely a fraction of what was obtained in the Middle Ages when it was credited with great curative powers." (p. 132.)

    More usages/notes from this book can be found on aloe wood and myrobolan, and garbling.

    October 9, 2017