: the starchy or mucilaginous dried tubers of various Old World orchids (especially genus Orchis) used for food or in medicine

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web In Turkey, winter is the season of salep. Amelia Nierenberg, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2020 Genuine salep powder might prove tricky to track down outside of Turkey, but glutinous rice flour or other starch can stand in while whipping up a batch. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian, 20 Dec. 2019 Turkey Over 100 species of orchid grow in Turkey, and a large portion of those flora can be transformed into the principle ingredient for salep. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian, 20 Dec. 2019

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

Word History


French or Spanish, both from Arabic dialect saḥlab, perhaps alteration of Arabic (khuṣy al-)thaʽlab, literally, testicles of the fox

First Known Use

1736, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of salep was in 1736

Dictionary Entries Near salep

Cite this Entry

“Salep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition


: the starchy or mucilaginous dried tubers of various orchids (genus Orchis or Eulophia) used for food or in medicine

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