\ ˈrīs How to pronounce rice (audio) \

Definition of rice

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: the starchy seeds of an annual southeast Asian cereal grass (Oryza sativa) that are cooked and used for food also : this cereal grass that is widely cultivated in warm climates for its seeds and by-products — compare wild rice

Definition of RICE (Entry 2 of 4)

rest, ice, compression, elevation


biographical name (1)
\ ˈrīs How to pronounce Rice (audio) \

Definition of Rice (Entry 3 of 4)

Condoleezza 1954–     U.S. Secretary of State (2005–09)


biographical name (2)

Definition of Rice (Entry 4 of 4)

Elmer Leopold 1892–1967 originally Elmer Reizenstein American dramatist

Illustration of rice

Illustration of rice


In the meaning defined above

Examples of rice in a Sentence


Rice is the main crop of the country.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The coating of batter provides something for all that delectable sauce to cling to, although a nice bowl of rice helps with that, too. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "The key to better sweet and sour chicken? Make it crispy and bright — and at home.," 4 Sep. 2019 In order to raise the money to buy back their son's freedom, the family sold their entire three-month ration of rice. Leif Coorlim And Thomas Page, CNN, "Stolen son: The child traffickers preying on the Rohingya," 31 Aug. 2019 Studies show there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, and more than 92 percent of them are smaller than a grain of rice. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Solana Beach bans distribution of single-use plastic bottles at city events," 29 Aug. 2019 On a recent morning, Alvino cooked 15 pounds of goat, two pounds of red beans and 10 pounds of rice. James Wagner, New York Times, "Abuela, Chef, Boss: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s Grandmother Feeds the Majors," 25 Aug. 2019 The combo choices can include fried shrimp, roasted chicken or steak; a large serving of rice; one side; a soup or salad; and a drink. Camila Vallejo, courant.com, "El Mercado’s food court: A hidden gem with Colombian, Dominican, Peruvian and Mexican fare," 14 Aug. 2019 About how the enslaved brought with them from Africa so many of the crops now considered Southern staples: peanuts, watermelon, okra, sorghum, countless varieties of rice. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appétit, "People Say Gullah Geechee Culture is Disappearing. BJ Dennis Says They're Wrong," 14 Aug. 2019 And each year, flooding destroys 4 million tons of rice in India and Bangladesh—lost meals for 30 million people. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Crispr Can Help Solve Our Looming Food Crisis—Here's How," 8 Aug. 2019 A few minutes after the galbi is set down on the table, Michael Kim brings out a cast iron gamasot full of rice. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "At Maum in Palo Alto, a tasting menu that celebrates Korean American classics," 8 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rice.' 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 rice


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rice


Middle English rys, from Anglo-French ris, from Old Italian riso, from Greek oryza, oryzon, of Iranian origin; akin to Pashto wriže rice; akin to Sanskrit vrīhi rice

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rice

Dictionary Entries near rice







rice bean

Statistics for rice

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rice

The first known use of rice was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rice



English Language Learners Definition of rice

: small white or brown grains that come from a southeast Asian plant and that are used for food
: the plant that produces rice


\ ˈrīs How to pronounce rice (audio) \

Kids Definition of rice

: the small seeds of a tall cereal grass widely grown in warm wet regions that are the chief food in many parts of the world

Medical Definition of RICE

rest, ice, compression, elevation used especially for the initial treatment of many usually minor sports-related injuries (as sprains)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on rice

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rice

Spanish Central: Translation of rice

Nglish: Translation of rice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rice for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rice

Comments on rice

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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