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

  • n. A starch obtained from the rhizomes of a tropical American perennial herb (Maranta arundinacea). It is used especially in cooking as a thickener.
  • n. The rhizome of this plant, cooked and eaten as a vegetable or used for starch extraction.
  • n. The plant itself.
  • n. The edible starch obtained from the rhizomes or tubers of plants in the genera Canna and Tacca.
  • n. Any of these plants.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large perennial herb (Maranta arundinacea - family Marantaceae) native to the Caribbean area. It has large green leaves about 15 centimeters long with white stripes.
  • n. A starchy substance obtained from the roots of the arrowroot plant used as a thickener.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A white-flowered west Indian plant of the genus Maranta, esp. Maranta arundinacea, now cultivated in many hot countries. Its root yields arrowroot starch. It said that the Indians used the roots to neutralize the venom in wounds made by poisoned arrows.
  • n. A nutritive starch obtained from the rootstocks of Maranta arundinacea, and used as food, esp. for children an invalids; also, a similar starch obtained from other plants, as various species of Maranta and Curcuma.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A starch obtained from the horizontal rhizomes of several species of Maranta.

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

  • n. a nutritive starch obtained from the root of the arrowroot plant
  • n. white-flowered West Indian plant whose root yields arrowroot starch
  • n. canna grown especially for its edible rootstock from which arrowroot starch is obtained


By folk etymology from Arawak aru-aru, meal of meals (from its being used to draw poison from arrow wounds).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
arrow +‎ root, from being used on wounds from poison darts to absorb the poison. (Wiktionary)



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