te·​o·​sin·​te ˌtā-ō-ˈsin-tē How to pronounce teosinte (audio)
: any of several tall annual or perennial grasses (genus Zea) of Mexico and Central America that have small dark triangular seeds and include two species (Z. mays parviglumis and Z. m. mexicana synonym Z. mexicana) which are closely related to and often considered ancestral to corn

Examples of teosinte in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Modern corn resembles teosinte, its wild ancestor, the way a teacup Chihuahua resembles a gray wolf. Andrew Curry, Discover Magazine, 13 Mar. 2013 After all, maize began evolving there from a grass called teosinte some 9,000 years ago, eventually becoming a staple consumed around the world. Barbara Fraser, Discover Magazine, 13 Dec. 2018 Silky Cheyenne River bison is topped with dollops of duck egg aioli, turnip crisps, dandelion wild rice and aronia berry and served with teosinte (a precursor to corn) crackers. Nicole Hvidsten, Star Tribune, 16 July 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'teosinte.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl teōcintli, from teōtl god + cintli dried ears of maize

First Known Use

circa 1877, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of teosinte was circa 1877

Dictionary Entries Near teosinte

Cite this Entry

“Teosinte.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teosinte. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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