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[tap-ee-oh-kuh] /ˌtæp iˈoʊ kə/
a food substance prepared from cassava in granular, flake, pellet (pearl tapioca) or flour form, used in puddings, as a thickener, etc.
Origin of tapioca
1605-15; < Portuguese < Tupi tipioca literally, juice (of cassava) squeezed out, i.e., pulp after squeezing Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tapioca
  • Fold in tapioca starch until it forms a workable ball of dough.
  • The pill-shaped mealybugs suck sap from the crops-a main ingredient of tapioca-causing them to shrivel and die.
  • Place a rounded tablespoon of tapioca in center, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top and place horizontally sliced pear on top.
  • The subsequent work will focus on developing formulations made of wheat and tapioca starches.
British Dictionary definitions for tapioca


a beadlike starch obtained from cassava root, used in cooking as a thickening agent, esp in puddings
Word Origin
C18: via Portuguese from Tupi tipioca pressed-out juice, from tipi residue + ok to squeeze out
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 tapioca

1640s, from Portuguese or Spanish tapioca, from Tupi (Brazil) tipioca, from tipi "residue, dregs" + og, ok "to squeeze out" (from roots of the cassava plant).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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