Part of speech: noun
Origin: American Spanish, 19th century
A wide-brimmed hat of strawlike material, originally made from the leaves of a particular tropical palm tree, worn chiefly by men.
(Proper noun) A country in Central America; population 3,900,000 (estimated 2015); capital, Panama City; language, Spanish (official).
Examples of Panama in a sentence
"He excitedly packed a panama for his vacation to Panama."
"She refreshed her panama with a new, striped ribbon around the crown of the hat."
Context clues should help you out, but panama has a variety of usages. There's the stylish panama, but that noun can turn into an adjective when you call it a panama hat. Then the proper noun Panama can be applied to the country, the capital Panama City, or the Panama Canal.
Did you Know?
The panama name is misleading — this hat did not originate in Panama. It originated in Ecuador, made from braided leaves of the jipijapa palm tree. The hats earned their Panamanian moniker when the makers moved to Panama for greater trade opportunities. President Theodore Roosevelt cemented the name when he appeared in photographs at the Panama Canal construction site in 1906, wearing a panama.