ses·​a·​me | \ˈse-sə-mē also ˈse-zə- \

Definition of sesame 

1 : a widely cultivated chiefly tropical or subtropical annual erect herb (Sesamum indicum of the family Pedaliaceae) also : its small seeds used especially as a source of oil and a flavoring agent

Illustration of sesame

Illustration of sesame

sesame 1

Examples of sesame in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Top with sliced steak, toasted sesame seeds, and sliced scallions. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Asian Steak Noodle Bowl," 28 Nov. 2018 Bowls are now the rage, and Amtrak is capitalizing on that with an Asian scallion and peanut noodle version with sesame ginger vinaigrette. Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY, "Amtrak revamps its food and beverage menu," 15 June 2018 As few as two sesame seeds can trigger a reaction for some patients. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "FDA Considers Making Food Labels Disclose Sesame to Help Allergy Sufferers," 12 Nov. 2018 Natasha was severely allergic to dairy, banana, sesame seeds and nuts, the court heard. Fox News, "Teen with severe allergy died after eating baguette with hidden sesame seeds, family claims," 24 Sep. 2018 The wasp — smaller than a sesame seed — is also an import from Asia. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "A local researcher is breeding an army of wasps to devour invasive stink bugs," 27 Aug. 2018 Stir in 1/2 cup tamari with oil and add 1/2 cup sesame seeds and heaping 1/2 tsp cayenne along with oats. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Best-Ever Granola," 17 Aug. 2018 During a recent Bruno Mars concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, some concertgoers passed on the greasy hot dogs, opting instead to nibble on sesame lamb meatballs. Suzanne Vranica, WSJ, "WW International Looks Beyond Dieting," 29 Oct. 2018 Serve with potato wedges, topped with scallions, cilantro and a drizzle of hot sesame chile oil or sprinkling of red-pepper flakes, and more tamari sauce. Melissa Clark, The Seattle Times, "How to make sheet-pan suppers without the meat," 1 Oct. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sesame

alteration of earlier sesam, sesama, from Latin sesamum, sesama, from Greek sēsamon, sēsamē, of Semitic origin; akin to Akkadian šamaššamu sesame

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Dictionary Entries near sesame





sesame grass

sesame oil


Statistics for sesame

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for sesame

The first known use of sesame was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of sesame

: a plant that is grown in warm regions and that produces small flat seeds that are used in cooking and as a source of oil


ses·​a·​me | \ˈses-ə-mē also ˈsez-\

Medical Definition of sesame 

: a widely cultivated annual erect herb (Sesamum indicum synonym S. orientale of the family Pedaliaceae) also : its small somewhat flat seeds used as a source of sesame oil and a flavoring agent

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More from Merriam-Webster on sesame

Spanish Central: Translation of sesame

Nglish: Translation of sesame for Spanish Speakers

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

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


having a pattern of small flowers

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