In Greece, the palm was reckoned at three inches. The Romans adopted two measures of this name, the lesser palm of 2.91 inches, and the greater palm of 8.73 inches. At the present day, this measure varies in the most arbitrary manner, being different in each country, and occasionally varying in the same.
Origin: OE. Paume, F. Paume, L. Palma, Gr, akin to Skr. Pani hand, and E. Fumble. See Fumble, Feel, and cf. 2d Palm.
Palms are perennial woody plants, often of majestic size. The trunk is usually erect and rarely branched, and has a roughened exterior composed of the persistent bases of the leaf stalks. The leaves are borne in a terminal crown, and are supported on stout, sheathing, often prickly, petioles. They are usually of great size, and are either pinnately or palmately many-cleft. There are about one thousand species known, nearly all of them growing in tropical or semitropical regions. The wood, petioles, leaves, sap, and fruit of many species are invaluable in the arts and in domestic economy. Among the best known are the date palm, the cocoa palm, the fan palm, the oil palm, the wax palm, the palmyra, and the various kinds called cabbage palm and palmetto.
2. A branch or leaf of the palm, anciently borne or worn as a symbol of victory or rejoicing. "A great multitude . . . Stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palme in their hands." (Rev. Vii. 9)
Origin: AS. Palm, L. Palma; so named fr. The leaf resembling a hand. See lst Palm, and cf. Pam.
(01 Mar 1998)
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