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[tuh-hee-nee, tah-] /təˈhi ni, tɑ-/
noun, Middle Eastern Cookery.
a paste made of ground sesame seeds.
Levantine Arabic
1895-1900; < Levantine Arabic ṭaḥīne, derivative of ṭaḥan grind Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tahini
  • Order grilled or fried fish with a choice of sauce such as lemon and mint or tahini with lemon and garlic.
  • For me, one of those items would be tahini, or sesame-seed paste.
  • Thin tahini with lots of lemon juice and some minced garlic.
  • Sesame cookies made with tahini join eggnog or glazed ham at the table.
  • Sprinkle with the roasted pumpkin seeds and serve with a good-quality tahini on the side.
  • It is a stew of beef, chickpeas and chard, married with the unique combination of lemony sumac and tahini.
  • Reduce heat to low and stir in tahini and lemon juice.
  • Some pantry ingredients may be expensive, and difficult to find in some grocery stores, such as tahini and sundried tomatoes.
British Dictionary definitions for tahini


a paste made from sesame seeds originating in the Middle East, often used as an ingredient of hummus and other dips
Word Origin
from Arabic
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 tahini

from Arabic tahina, from tahana "to grind or crush."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for tahini

paste of crushed sesame seeds that is widely used in Middle Eastern cooking. Tahini mixed with garlic, lemon juice, and salt and thinned with water constitutes taratoor, a sauce that is eaten as a dip with Arab bread as part of a selection of meze, or hors d'oeuvres. Taratoor is mixed with ground chickpeas for hummus bi tahini, another hors d'oeuvre dip. Baba ganooj combines mashed roast eggplant with taratoor and onions. Tahini is also used as a sauce ingredient for fish and vegetable dishes

Learn more about tahini with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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