saf·​fron | \ ˈsa-ˌfrän How to pronounce saffron (audio) , -frən How to pronounce saffron (audio) \

Definition of saffron

1a : the deep orange aromatic pungent dried stigmas of a purple-flowered crocus (Crocus sativus) used to color and flavor foods and formerly as a dyestuff and in medicine
b : the crocus supplying saffron
2 : a moderate orange to orange yellow

Examples of saffron in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There, basic products such as chickens from Bresse, oysters from Belon or saffron from Quercy were exemplary and sought-after. Paul Freedman, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 July 2021 The saffron-laced spice mixture varies from family to family, and the women take pride in picking out the fresh spices at the market a few days before the celebration to grind and prepare at home. New York Times, 9 July 2021 As the sun dipped below the horizon, the sands turned first a soft saffron, then cumin, cinnamon, and finally the shade of pink peppercorns. Melanie Van Zyl, Travel + Leisure, 5 July 2021 Make the saffron rice: Set a medium non-stick pan over medium heat. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, 3 June 2021 One of the pleasures of Iberian cookery is called fideo, a kind of angel’s hair pasta here toasted and served with spicy chorizo sausage, clams, chicken, fava beans and a lustrous saffron aïoli. John Mariani, Forbes, 12 May 2021 Begin with tomatillo marmalade before moving on to starters like crawfish risotto with peas, asparagus and saffron or green tomato gazpacho. Joanna O'leary, Chron, 4 May 2021 The saffron from Navelli, L'Aquila, Abruzzo considered among the best in the world, isn’t added to alter the chromaticity, but rather for the flavor. Valentina Di Donato, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2021 These tens of thousands of ascetics, some dressed in saffron robes, some nude and covered in ash, with wild dreadlocks, come riding on horseback, or in golden seats on elephants. Tulasi Srinivas, The Conversation, 8 Apr. 2021

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

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First Known Use of saffron

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for saffron

Middle English, from Anglo-French saffron, safren, from Medieval Latin safranum, from Arabic zaʽfarān

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

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Dictionary Entries Near saffron

safflower red


saffron plum

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Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Saffron.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for saffron



English Language Learners Definition of saffron

: an orange powder that is made from a type of flower (called a crocus) and that is used to color and flavor food
: an orange to orange-yellow color


saf·​fron | \ ˈsa-frən How to pronounce saffron (audio) \

Kids Definition of saffron

1 : an orange spice that is made from the dried stigmas of a crocus and is used to color or flavor foods
2 : an orange to orange yellow


saf·​fron | \ ˈsaf-rän How to pronounce saffron (audio) , -rən How to pronounce saffron (audio) \

Medical Definition of saffron

1 : the deep orange aromatic pungent dried stigmas of a purple-flowered crocus used to color and flavor foods and formerly as a dyestuff and as a stimulant antispasmodic emmenagogue in medicine
2 : a purple-flowered crocus (Crocus sativa) that is the source of saffron

called also saffron crocus

More from Merriam-Webster on saffron

Nglish: Translation of saffron for Spanish Speakers

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


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