te·​o·​sin·​te | \ ˌtā-ō-ˈsin-tē How to pronounce teosinte (audio) \

Definition of teosinte

: 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

First Known Use of teosinte

circa 1877, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for teosinte

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about teosinte

Time Traveler for teosinte

Time Traveler

The first known use of teosinte was circa 1877

See more words from the same year

Statistics for teosinte

Cite this Entry

“Teosinte.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teosinte. Accessed 26 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on teosinte

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about teosinte

Comments on teosinte

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


to express in a more acceptable way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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