cas·​sa·​va | \ kə-ˈsä-və How to pronounce cassava (audio) \

Definition of cassava

: any of several American plants (genus Manihot, especially M. esculenta) of the spurge family grown in the tropics for their edible tuberous roots which yield a nutritious starch also : the root

called also mandioca, manioc, yuca, yucca

— compare tapioca sense 1

Note: Since raw cassava contains glycosides which release cyanide when crushed, the leaves and roots must be soaked, cooked, or fermented before consumption to prevent poisoning.

Examples of cassava in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Traditional Malaysian beverages like toddy, tapai and tuak — fermented from coconut, rice, cassava and other starches — are in danger of being lost, but some producers are trying to increase awareness and demand for these drinks. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bold beers like hazy IPAs are all the rage. But Moonlight's subtle, balanced lagers will never go out of style," 29 Apr. 2021 David Fan, who is also chief executive of Fanale Drinks, said tapioca starch is made from the cassava plant and is primarily imported from Thailand and the Pacific. Los Angeles Times, "‘Like Bobageddon’: Boba tea aficionados are freaking out as shortage looms," 19 Apr. 2021 In the meantime, US Boba is trying to transport the starch by means other than ships, as well as trying to find suppliers in the U.S., where cassava is rarely grown. Los Angeles Times, "‘Like Bobageddon’: Boba tea aficionados are freaking out as shortage looms," 19 Apr. 2021 The pearls are made from the starch of the cassava root, a tuber also known as yuca, native to South America. oregonlive, "With more than 30 new boba tea shops in 3 years, Portland can’t seem to get enough boba," 14 Apr. 2021 Brazil currently produces about 100 such products from native species—including timber, fruit, cassava, and cocoa—and communities in the Amazon and elsewhere rely on them for their livelihood. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Amid criticism of its conservation policies, Brazil joins global biotrade pact," 29 Mar. 2021 In some cases the cassava root is chewed by the tribeswomen and the juice spat into a bowl that is left to ferment into alcohol. John Mariani, Forbes, "Even When Covid Goes Away, You Still Need To Take These Health Precautions When You Eat Out," 1 Mar. 2021 Women have traditionally brewed beer made with sorghum, cassava, maize and other native starch sources and still do on a very small scale for their male neighbors in the villages and for relatives on big holidays like Christmas. Tara Nurin, Forbes, "COVID-19 Slows But Doesn’t Stop Africa’s Craft Beer Brewing Women," 1 Mar. 2021 Researchers have identified various potential alternative food sources—including seaweed, cassava waste, soldier-fly larvae, single-cell proteins produced by fungi and bacteria, and even human sewage—but none are being produced affordably at scale. Ian Urbina, The New Yorker, "Fish Farming Is Feeding the Globe. What’s the Cost for Locals?," 1 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cassava.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cassava

1555, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cassava

Spanish cazabe cassava bread, from Taino caçábi

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The first known use of cassava was in 1555

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Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cassava.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of cassava

: a tropical plant with thick roots that are used to make small white grains (called tapioca) that are used in cooking

More from Merriam-Webster on cassava

Nglish: Translation of cassava for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cassava

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