a North African dish consisting of steamed semolina, served with vegetables and meat.

1590–1600; < French < Arabic kuskus, kuskusū < Berber seksu Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
couscous (ˈkuːskuːs)
1.  a type of semolina originating from North Africa, consisting of granules of crushed durum wheat
2.  a spicy North African dish consisting of steamed semolina with meat, vegetables, or fruit C17: via French from Arabic kouskous, from kaskasa to pound until fine

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1600, from Fr., ult. from Arabic kuskus, from kaskasa "to pound, he pounded."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


North African dish of semolina and accompanying foods. The semolina grains (the endosperm of Durum wheat) are prepared in a couscousiere, a large covered pot with a lower compartment in which a stew or broth cooks and an upper portion with a pierced bottom in which the couscous steams. The grains must be sprinkled with liquid, stirred to separate the clumps, and steamed several times. While the grain is steaming, a stew of lamb, chicken, chickpeas, and vegetables cooks in the lower portion of the pot. The couscous and stew are eaten with harissa, a fiery sauce of red pepper and other spices. Alternatively, couscous can be eaten as a sweet dish with fruits and milk or as a breakfast porridge.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Instant couscous has become so popular that it is easy to find in the
Pulse cauliflower until it is roughly the size of couscous.
But first, start two pans of water heating for the broccoli and the couscous,
  then zip through the pork recipe.
The servant came with a bowl of couscous, and sat with us.
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