sumac

noun
su·mac | \ˈshü-ˌmak, ˈsü-\
variants: or less commonly sumach

Definition of sumac 

1 : any of a genus (Rhus) of trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the cashew family that have leaves turning to brilliant colors in the autumn, small usually dioecious flowers, and spikes or loose clusters of red or whitish berries — compare poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac

2 : a material used in tanning and dyeing that consists of dried powdered leaves and flowers of various sumacs

3 : the tart dried and ground red berries of several sumacs (such as Rhus coriaria) used as a spice especially in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking

Examples of sumac in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

This twist on hummus combines roasted carrots with sumac, honey, garlic, and tahini with crave-worthy results. Vitamix, Bon Appetit, "Sumac-Roasted Carrot Dip," 11 June 2018 While the grill is on, set a few rounds of Indian naan on the rack to heat them, then sprinkle with za’atar, a Middle Eastern herb mix containing sesame seed, sumac, dried hyssop or thyme, and other aromatics. Sally Pasley Vargas, BostonGlobe.com, "Prepare several mezze plates for this rehearsal dinner, which won’t cost a crazy amount of money," 4 June 2018 Combine with the sumac, a splash of olive oil and a small pinch of salt. Sarah Fritsche, SFChronicle.com, "Recipe: Tawla’s Fattoush," 3 July 2018 Mulholland Ridge tilted back toward gold, more opaque, and heavy on toyon and sumac. Josh Lurie, Los Angeles Magazine, "Honey Made by Bees in Different Parts of L.A. All Tastes Wonderfully Different," 25 June 2018 Gluten, dairy, and added sugar are replaced with fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins in easy-to-follow recipes such as salmon with cilantro lime sauce and chipotle turkey chili with cucumber sumac salad. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "5 New Healthy Meal-Delivery Programs, Just In Time for Summer," 11 July 2018 Transfer to a shallow bowl and use the back of a spoon to flatten the top. Sprinkle with more olive oil and a pinch of sumac or marash pepper. Sally Pasley Vargas, BostonGlobe.com, "Prepare several mezze plates for this rehearsal dinner, which won’t cost a crazy amount of money," 4 June 2018 Other mountain dwellers are currently storing honey from a blend of sage, mustard and laurel sumac flowers. Josh Lurie, Los Angeles Magazine, "Honey Made by Bees in Different Parts of L.A. All Tastes Wonderfully Different," 25 June 2018 While Jewish cuisine’s distinct ingredients can be hard to trace, patterns do emerge: like a golden hour of spice, baskets and tubs become a palette of deep red sumac, bright red saffron, earthy cumin and yellow turmeric. Keith Flanagan, USA TODAY, "A taste of Tel Aviv's largest open-air market," 19 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for sumac

Middle English sumac, from Anglo-French, ultimately from Arabic summāq

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sumac

Dictionary Entries near sumac

sulze

sum

Suma

sumac

sumac family

sumac wax

Suman

Statistics for sumac

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sumac

The first known use of sumac was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sumac

sumac

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sumac

: a type of tree, bush, or vine that has many small leaves and produces red or white berries

sumac

noun
su·mac
variants: also sumach \ˈshü-ˌmak, ˈsü- \

Kids Definition of sumac

: a tree, shrub, or woody vine that has leaves with many leaflets and loose clusters of red or white berries

sumac

noun
su·mac
variants: also sumach \ˈsü-ˌmak, ˈshü- \

Medical Definition of sumac 

: any of various plants of the genus Rhus including several (as poison sumac) having foliage poisonous to the touch — compare poison ivy, poison oak

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sumac

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

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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