cum·​in | \ ˈkə-mən How to pronounce cumin (audio) , ˈkyü- How to pronounce cumin (audio) , ˈkü- How to pronounce cumin (audio) \

Definition of cumin

: a small annual herb (Cuminum cyminum) of the carrot family cultivated for its aromatic fruits also : the seedlike fruit of cumin used as a spice

Did you know?

Cumin is a small, slender annual herb of the carrot family, cultivated in the Mediterranean region, India, China, and Mexico. Its seeds, which are actually dried fruits, are used in many mixed spices, chutneys, and chili and curry powders. Cumin is especially popular in Asian, North African, and Latin American cuisines. Its oil is used in perfumes, for flavoring liquors, and for medicinal purposes.

Examples of cumin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In some parts of Yemen, the traditional celebration dish is mahshoosha, a slow cooked beef slathered in dark spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cardamom. Felicia Campbell, The Arizona Republic, 28 Apr. 2022 In the Bulgarian beef kebab, the meat is grounded and mixed with Aleppo pepper, cumin and paprika. Sylvie Bigar, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Common heart notes include floral tones such as lavender, geraniums, rose, and jasmine, as well as cooling spices such as coriander and cumin. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Mar. 2022 Add the tomato sauce, bay leaf, chocolate, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cumin, black pepper, allspice and cloves, stirring constantly until the meat is separated. Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2022 In a small bowl whisk together juice, vinegar, sugar, oil, gingerroot, salt, pepper and cumin until sugar dissolves. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, 28 Feb. 2021 First the lentils are set to simmer with a dusting of cumin, bringing its stealthy warmth. New York Times, 23 Mar. 2022 Stir in 2 tablespoons of the cumin and the harissa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Christopher Kimball,, 28 Feb. 2022 Top notes of cumin, elemi, clove, saffron and Chébé mingle with a heart of olibanum, leather, rose, jasmine and oud, and a base of myrrh, patchouli, cedar and sandalwood. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, 31 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of cumin

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cumin

Middle English, from Old English cymen, from Latin cuminum, from Greek kyminon, of Semitic origin; akin to Akkadian kamūnu cumin

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best cookware sets.

Learn More About cumin

Time Traveler for cumin

Time Traveler

The first known use of cumin was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near cumin




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cumin

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cumin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on cumin

Nglish: Translation of cumin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cumin for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cumin


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!