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[ses-uh-mee] /ˈsɛs ə mi/
a tropical, herbaceous plant, Sesamum indicum, whose small oval seeds are edible and yield an oil.
the seeds themselves, used to add flavor to bread, crackers, etc.
Also called benne (for defs 1, 2).
Origin of sesame
late Middle English
1400-50; < Greek sēsámē sesame plant ≪ Akkadian shamashshammū, derived from shaman shammī plant oil; replacing sesam, late Middle English sysane < Latin sēsamum < Greek sḗsamon sesame seed Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sesame
  • Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with salt and toasted sesame seeds.
  • Dress with toasted sesame oil and seasoned rice vinegar.
  • Scatter snipped nori and toasted sesame seeds over steamed white or brown rice.
  • Season with salt, a pinch of sugar, and a few drops of sesame oil.
  • Transfer filling to a medium bowl, and add sesame oil and a pinch of white pepper.
  • They were the size of sesame seeds, and their activity rate was millions of times faster than ours.
  • Instead of the ubiquitous tom yum, he serves squid-ink-and-hot-sesame-oil soup.
  • The chef shows us the delicately-scented sesame oil in which he fries the battered seafood and vegetables.
  • The restaurant slices it raw, simmers it in lard, and tucks it into a soft sesame bun under a scoop of ricotta.
  • Beat eggs with a fork and add a few drops of sesame oil.
British Dictionary definitions for sesame


a tropical herbaceous plant, Sesamum indicum, of the East Indies, cultivated, esp in India, for its small oval seeds: family Pedaliaceae
the seeds of this plant, used in flavouring bread and yielding an edible oil (benne oil or gingili)
Also called benne, gingili, til
Word Origin
C15: from Latin sēsamum, from Greek sēsamon, sēsamē, of Semitic origin; related to Arabic simsim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sesame

early 15c., probably from Middle French sisame and directly from Latin sesamum (nominative sesama), from Greek sesamon (Doric sasamon) "seed or fruit of the sesame plant," a very early borrowing via Phoenician from Late Babylonian *shawash-shammu (cf. Assyrian shamash-shammu "sesame," literally "oil-seed"). First as a magic password in 1785 translation of Galland's "Mille et une nuits," where it opens the door of the thieves' den in "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves." Phrase open sesame current since about 1826.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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