em·​ping ˈem-ˌpiŋ How to pronounce emping (audio)
plural emping also empings
: a slightly bitter cracker or chip popular in Indonesia that is made from the dried flattened seed of a melinjo tree (Gnetum gnemon)
… crunchy, slightly bitter emping—deep-fried chips made from the seeds of the melinjo plant—waiting to be tossed with jalapeño and peanut dressings.Zachary Feldman
You can buy empings by the sack at Asian Deli.Charles Perry

Word History


borrowed from Indonesian, "crisp chip made from young rice plants that are that are pounded flat, dried and fried, (also as emping melinjo) chip made in a similar fashion from the nut of the tree Gnetum gnemon"

Note: R.J. Wilkinson's A Malay Dictionary (1932 edition) has a more elaborate definition: "ĕmping [ĕ = ə] rice-grains taken before they are quite ripe (at the stage known as masak pĕr-ĕmping…), pounded in a special mortar (pĕngĕmping or lĕsong pĕngĕmpiug), then toasted and eaten, either dry or with coconut and palm-sugar." Presumed Austronesian cognates are cited in Harry Shorto's A Mon-Khmer Comparative Dictionary (online, edited by Paul Sidwell, et al.): Achehnese [Austronesian language of northern Sumatra] ömpiəng (eumpieng in current orthography, glossed "grilled rice or gnemon seed pounded flat" in B. Daud and M. Durie, Acehnese-Indonesian-English Thesaurus, Pacific Linguistics, 1999); Gayo [Austronesian language spoken in inland northern Sumatra] t-ĕmping; Iban [Austronesian language spoken in Sarawak and Brunei] k-emping. Curiously, Shorto does not mention the existence of the word in Malay. He further compares the etymon to Khmer sbiəŋ "supplies, provisions, food for journey" and a number of other words in Austroasiatic languages with the general meaning "cooked rice." The Austronesian etymon, assuming there is one, is absent from R. Blust and S. Trussel, Austronesian Comparative Dictionary (online).

First Known Use

1967, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of emping was in 1967

Dictionary Entries Near emping

Cite this Entry

“Emping.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emping. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

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