tap·​i·​o·​ca | \ˌta-pē-ˈō-kə \

Definition of tapioca 

1 : a usually granular preparation of cassava starch used especially in puddings and as a thickening in liquid food also : a dish (such as pudding) containing tapioca

2 : cassava

Examples of tapioca in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

It is primarily produced in Southeast Asia, where it is used to create desserts like the tapioca-like pudding sago gula melaka and klepon, coconut-coated rice cakes filled with liquid coconut sugar. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appetit, "What Is Coconut Sugar, the Alt-Sweetener Taking Over Baking?," 13 Apr. 2018 Camp method: Put all the fruit in a large Ziploc with sugar and cornstarch/flour/tapioca. Julia O'malley, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaskana recipe: Choose-your-own-adventure rhubarb crisp," 5 July 2018 There are tapioca Boba pearls inside, a surprise slurping up my straw. Dewayne Bevil, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Theme-park foods get a little freaky," 3 July 2018 Toppings include aloe vera, red bean, jellies and ice cream along with the standard boba tapioca pearls. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Berkeley-based boba shop with Davis store to open in Downtown Commons," 25 June 2018 The restaurant also will have boba tea ($3.95) that can be stocked with tapioca balls, rainbow jelly or popping boba. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fusion Poke (and ramen, and rolled ice cream) coming soon to the east side," 23 June 2018 The shop also serves boba tea — a fruit or tea drink with milk and tapioca — in flavors like Thai milk tea, vanilla, strawberry, mango, matcha, taro, plain, pina colada and watermelon. Grace Wong, chicagotribune.com, "Thai rolled ice cream comes to the Magnificent Mile, plus other restaurant news," 1 June 2018 There are new cocktails, too, including a tropical tonic of gin, passion fruit, pineapple juice and lime with mango-flavored chewy tapioca balls, otherwise known as boba. Celestina Blok, star-telegram, "Restaurant roundup: Bartaco in WestBend, Newk's up north and deals for Dad's day," 6 June 2018 Combine cut fruit, tapioca, cane sugar (as needed), acidity in the form of lemon juice or verjus, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Adina Steiman, WSJ, "A Cookbook Packed With Red-Blooded Vegetarian Fare," 31 May 2018

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

1707, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tapioca

Portuguese, from Tupi tɨpɨʔóka

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Dictionary Entries near tapioca





tapioca fish



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Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for tapioca

The first known use of tapioca was in 1707

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English Language Learners Definition of tapioca

: the small, white grains of the cassava plant

: a dessert made by cooking tapioca grains usually with milk, eggs, and sugar


tap·​i·​o·​ca | \ˌta-pē-ˈō-kə \

Kids Definition of tapioca

: small pieces of starch from roots of a tropical plant used especially in puddings

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