ses·​a·​me | \ ˈse-sə-mē How to pronounce sesame (audio) also ˈse-zə- How to pronounce sesame (audio) \

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 Serve sprinkled with the scallions and sesame seeds., 22 June 2021 Divide the soup between 2 bowls, sprinkle with a few extra sesame seeds, and serve with the toast. San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 June 2021 Soft serve flavors including ube, matcha and black sesame are still the way to go here, but those looking to take some ice cream home can grab a pint of Uji Time’s yuzu passion fruit, red velvet or Hong Kong milk tea, among other flavors. The Chronicle Food Team, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 June 2021 Specialty coffee options include a black sesame ginger latte and molé coronado, a spicy twist on a mocha. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, 11 May 2021 The result of that unnerving thought process is a corndog with a reddish Japanese-style bechamel and cheese sauce on the inside, and a blood-curdling black exterior, courtesy of black sesame. oregonlive, 30 Apr. 2021 Black sesame seeds and cilantro are pressed into the whisper-thin dough, which is fried up to a crispy brown around the edges. Andi Berlin, The Arizona Republic, 11 June 2021 The star ingredient is roasted Ethiopian sesame seeds, which are known to encourage collagen production and reduce cholesterol due to their high protein, copper and zinc content. Anna Haines, Forbes, 10 June 2021 Roasted almonds and sesame seeds add an almost regal touch. Amy Drew Thompson,, 10 June 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About sesame

Time Traveler for sesame

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sesame



sesame grass

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sesame

Last Updated

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sesame.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sesame



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

More from Merriam-Webster on sesame

Nglish: Translation of sesame for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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