Lychee

Lychee is the name of a genus of tropical trees native to Asia which bears small, fleshy red fruit. It was cultivated as early as the 10th century and was (and still is) a popular fruit in China and Asia, though it’s also spread to Australia and Florida. Lychee, also spelled Litchicomes from Chinese lìzhī, which derives from an unknown, uncertain meaning. It’s written as 荔枝; the first element lì  has been interpreted as meaning “to sever; to partition”, something about the stem being too firm to break by hand so it needs to be severed with a knife or axe (wiktionary); another interpretation of the name may have to do with the fact that when the fruit is picked its color changes in a day, its taste in three, and so 荔枝 may have the literal meaning of “removed from branch” (wiktionary). However, it’s also possible that it may have been borrowed from a Kra-Dai language, the syllables meaning “fruit” and “branch” (Kra-Dai being a family of tonal languages found in southern China, Northeast India, and Southeast Asia). 

The name is pronounced lee-chee though Lychee makes me want to say it as lie-chee instead.

Origin: Chinese

Meaning: unknown though it’s been linked to Chinese element lì 荔 “to sever; to partition” or meaning “removed from branch”; or “fruit branch”

Usage: not sure. I don’t believe this has ever been used as an actual given name before. though it is the Japanese and Chinese name of a female character in the Pokemon Sun and Moon games.

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Variants:

  • Litchi
  • Lichee

 

 

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