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

  • noun A widely cultivated tropical plant (Curcuma longa) of India, having yellow flowers and an aromatic, somewhat fleshy rhizome.
  • noun The powdered rhizome of this plant, used as a spice and a yellow dye.
  • noun Any of several other plants having similar rhizomes.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The rhizome of Curcuma longa, a plant of the ginger family, native and long cultivated in the East Indies.
  • noun The plant producing turmeric.
  • noun The bloodroot, Sanguinaria Canadensis.
  • noun In Australia, either of two species of trees: Zieria Smithii, the stinkwood of Tasmania, which see, under stinkwood ; and Hakea dactyloides, an evergreen shrub of the family Proteaceæ.
  • Noting an acid, a compound, C11H14O2, formed by the oxidation of turmerol by means of potassium permanganate.

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

  • noun (Bot.) An East Indian plant of the genus Curcuma, of the Ginger family.
  • noun The root or rootstock of the Curcuma longa. It is externally grayish, but internally of a deep, lively yellow or saffron color, and has a slight aromatic smell, and a bitterish, slightly acrid taste. It is used for a dye, a medicine, a condiment, and a chemical test.
  • adjective (Chem.) Of or pertaining to turmeric; resembling, or obtained from, turmeric; specif., designating an acid obtained by the oxidation of turmerol.
  • adjective (Chem.) paper impregnated with turmeric and used as a test for alkaline substances, by which it is changed from yellow to brown.
  • adjective (Bot.) Orangeroot.

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

  • noun An Indian plant, Curcuma longa, with aromatic rhizomes, part of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae).
  • noun The pulverized rhizome of the turmeric plant, used for stimulation, flavoring and to add a bright yellow color to food.
  • noun A yellow to reddish-brown dye extracted from the turmeric plant.

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

  • noun widely cultivated tropical plant of India having yellow flowers and a large aromatic deep yellow rhizome; source of a condiment and a yellow dye
  • noun ground dried rhizome of the turmeric plant used as seasoning


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

[Alteration of Middle English termeryte; akin to French terre mérite and New Latin terra merita, turmeric (New Latin, from Latin terra, earth; see ters- in Indo-European roots + merita, feminine past participle of merēre, to deserve; see (s)mer- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English / early modern English turmeryte, tarmaret, of uncertain origin. Possibly from Middle French terremérite ("worthy earth").



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  • See also: tumeric.

    October 2, 2008

  • Curcuma domestica (see above) is a synonym of Curcuma longa (see here, here and here). Cf. curcuma.

    December 7, 2011

  • Usage on long pepper.

    October 9, 2017