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

  • noun An annual Mediterranean herb (Cuminum cyminum) in the parsley family, having finely divided leaves and clusters of small white or pink flowers.
  • noun The seedlike fruit of this plant used for seasoning, as in curry and chili powders.
  • noun Black cumin.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A fennel-like umbelliferous plant, Cuminum Cyminum.
  • noun The fruit of this plant, commonly called cumin-seed.
  • noun A name of several plants of other genera.

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

  • noun (Bot.) A dwarf umbelliferous plant, somewhat resembling fennel (Cuminum Cyminum), cultivated for its seeds, which have a bitterish, warm taste, with an aromatic flavor, and are used like those of anise and caraway.
  • noun (Bot.) a plant (Nigella sativa) with pungent seeds, used by the Afghans, etc.

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

  • noun The flowering plant Cuminum cyminum, in the family Apiaceae
  • noun Its aromatic long seed, used as a spice, notably in Indian and Mexican cookery.

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

  • noun dwarf Mediterranean annual long cultivated for its aromatic seeds
  • noun aromatic seeds of the cumin herb of the carrot family


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin cumīnum, from Greek kumīnon, probably of Semitic origin; see kmn in Semitic roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English cymen, from Latin cuminum, from Ancient Greek κύμινον (kúminon), itself of Semitic origin; cognate with Old High German kumin, and via Semitic route related to Hebrew כמון (kammon) and Arabic كمون (kammūn).


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  • I was little more in my senses than the disciples of Porcius Latro, who, by dint of drinking cummin, having made themselves as pale as their master, thought themselves every whit as learned; so I could scarcely refrain from fancying myself next of kin and presumptive heir to the Duke of Lerma himself.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 8 ch. 9

    October 7, 2008

  • Cuminum cyminum.

    October 8, 2010

  • Comment on pepper, and a mind-blowing (at least to me) historical note on coriander.

    November 30, 2016