ha·​ris·​sa | \ hə-ˈri-sə How to pronounce harissa (audio) \

Definition of harissa

: 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 heat of her homemade harissa and the cooling touch of her garlicy cream sauce are welcome additions. Staff Writer, AJC.com, "Get a taste of Morocco at this East Atlanta eatery," 24 Feb. 2018 Merguez is a spicy Moroccan lamb sausage with harissa hot sauce, cooked with onions, red and green peppers, garlic and lemon. Linda Bladholm, miamiherald, "Their family brought Middle Eastern cuisine to 1970s Miami. Now they’ve expanded to Doral," 18 Jan. 2018 The veal is layered on a dish like carpaccio is, and is topped with the tuna aioli, olive oil, lemon juice, chili, and a bit of harissa. Julia Sayers, AL.com, "Try this innovative Italian restaurant in the Pizitz Food Hall," 7 Feb. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of harissa

1970, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for harissa

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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about harissa

Time Traveler for harissa

Time Traveler

The first known use of harissa was in 1970

See more words from the same year

Statistics for harissa

Cite this Entry

“Harissa.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harissa. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Comments on harissa

What made you want to look up harissa? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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