star anise


Definition of star anise

: the small brown star-shaped pungent fruit of a Chinese and Vietnamese tree (Illicium verum) that has a flavor similar to but stronger than anise and is dried and used whole or ground as a spice especially in Chinese cooking

Examples of star anise in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An earthy gust of ginseng threads among the scents of cinnamon and star anise. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2022 Vira’s contemporary version is galouti kebab, lamb seasoned with star anise and other warm spices and mashed so as not to overtax the jaw. Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2022 Gently stir to incorporate and garnish with star anise and fresh rosemary. Jeanne O'brien Coffey, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2022 Most versions are made by stewing animal bones (including everything from cow to pig bones, or even fish bones) in water with an array of aromatic spices, herbs, and vegetables, like star anise, thyme, and onions, for example. Audrey Bruno, SELF, 26 Feb. 2022 Add star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and fennel seeds to the pot. Danny Chau, The New Yorker, 13 Mar. 2022 The crew would frequently eat at pho restaurants together, and Saigon cinnamon and star anise became inspiration for her recipes. Jean Trinh, Los Angeles Times, 8 Feb. 2022 At JG Sky High, sip on a hot apple toddy laced with allspice, cinnamon, and star anise, while taking in bird's-eye views of the city. Katie Chang, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 Tie the star anise, cinnamon stick and bay leaves in a cheesecloth bundle, then add the bundle to the pot. Cuong Pham, Robb Report, 28 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of star anise

1838, in the meaning defined above

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best cookware sets.

Learn More About star anise

Time Traveler for star anise

Time Traveler

The first known use of star anise was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near star anise


star anise

star aniseed

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for star anise

Last Updated

29 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Star anise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on star anise Encyclopedia article about star anise


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!