ha·​ris·​sa hə-ˈri-sə How to pronounce harissa (audio)
: a spicy North African paste made from dried chilies, salt, oil, and other seasonings
Roast chicken slathered in fiery Moroccan harissa is served with a bright orange dollop of carrot purée …Margot Dougherty

Examples of harissa in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The latest was inspired by Gathered Nutrition: piquant harissa, smoked paprika, and a kiss of sweetness from honey. The Bon Appétit Staff & Contributors, Bon Appétit, 2 Feb. 2024 Move on to something grilled, maybe the herby chicken souvlaki or prawns, sassy with lemon and harissa. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2023 Real-deal Tunisian harissa is an anchor to the motherland and a bright, specific accent to countless dishes. Eric Kim, New York Times, 20 Sep. 2023 In a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken in one layer, stir together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, the orange juice, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper, and harissa. Sally Pasley Vargas, BostonGlobe.com, 18 July 2023 Make the harissa: In a blender or small food processor, place roasted pepper, garlic, paprika, cumin, caraway, cayenne and salt. San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Dec. 2021 Add the olive oil, vinegar, harissa, and a pinch of salt. Sheryl Julian, BostonGlobe.com, 16 May 2023 To make the harissa, in another small bowl, stir together the harissa and olive oil. ExpressNews.com, 2 July 2020 Beef and lamb merguez sausages, spiced with cumin, chile or harissa to recipes imported from North Africa, are the food of the streets in France – and not just in the recent protests against pension age reform that have spread through the country. Oliver Briscoe, CNN, 11 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'harissa.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French & North African Arabic; French harissa, borrowed from North African Arabic harīsa "dish of ground meat and bulgur or couscous, paste made from chili peppers and spices," derivative of Arabic harasa "crush, bruise, pound"

First Known Use

1970, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of harissa was in 1970

Dictionary Entries Near harissa

Cite this Entry

“Harissa.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harissa. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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