Pa*paw" (?), n. [Prob. from the native name in the West Indies; cf. Sp. papayo papaw, papaya the fruit of the papaw.] [Written also pawpaw.]
A tree (Carica Papaya) of tropical America, belonging to the order Passifloreae. It has a soft, spongy stem, eighteen or twenty feet high, crowned with a tuft of large, long-stalked, palmately lobed leaves. The milky juice of the plant is said to have the property of making meat tender. Also, its dull orange-colored, melon-shaped fruit, which is eaten both raw and cooked or pickled.
<-- juice contains papain, a protease? -->
A tree of the genus Asimina (A. triloba), growing in the western and southern parts of the United States, and producing a sweet edible fruit; also, the fruit itself.
© Webster 1913.