to·​ma·​til·​lo | \ˌtō-mə-ˈtē-(ˌ)yō, -ˈtēl-(ˌ)yō \
plural tomatillos

Definition of tomatillo 

: the small round yellow, purplish, and especially pale green edible sticky fruit of a Mexican ground-cherry (Physalis ixocarpa synonym P. philadelphica) also : the plant that bears tomatillos

Examples of tomatillo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Instead of the usual orange slices doused in worm salt, straight shots of mezcal are served with slivers of tomatillo that add a refreshing tartness and prepare the palate for the next sip. Scarlett Lindeman, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Bars in Mexico City," 27 Feb. 2018 Common Ground Cherry Problems Ground cherries are susceptible to the same pests and diseases as tomatoes and tomatillos, but are hardier, perhaps because of their weed-like nature. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow Hundreds of Ground Cherries," 31 July 2018 Agua Chile surprised with tender strips of beef cured in seaweed and suspended beneath a thin layer of acidic tomatillo water, with fresh raw serranos and little kisses of bonito mayo. Stephanie Burt, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Best Restaurants in Charleston," 2 May 2018 Indigenous ingredients integrated Crunching your way through a pile of chicharrones ($7) dusted with a bit of sugar and chile and dipped in a milky cool (if a little too thin) tomatillo cream will be the first clue that interesting things are afoot. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Helio Basin Brewing Co. brings Arizona cuisine to Phoenix brewery, but fascinating menu feels out of place," 6 June 2018 The pachi pachi sauce has the color and thickness of queso, but chef Erick Barrera explained that is due to the rust orange hue of its signature chile arbol, blended with green tomatillos. Courtney Dabney, star-telegram, "Mesero is spicing up the Clearfork dining scene, and so is its mole | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 22 Mar. 2018 For the most part, the menu will resemble that of the flagship, with dishes like chile relleno, braised boneless pork ribs, and pineapple-tomatillo salsa, among other things. Justin Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, "Gran Electrica opens: Can a Brooklyn restaurant successfully bring Mexican food to the Bay Area?," 28 Mar. 2018 The Green Monster features poblano-tomatillo sorbet, gin, mezcal, pineapple and lime and a What’s Up, Doc has carrot juice, orange juice, cumin, ginger, lemon and rye. Leeanne Griffin,, "Beyond Bloody Marys: Drinking Your Veggies At Your Favorite Cocktail Bar," 23 Jan. 2018 Add the tomatillo salsa, adjust the heat to a simmer, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Sally Pasley Vargas,, "Recipe: Pulled-chicken tacos with tomatilla salsa are almost like the ones from a Mexican food truck," 25 June 2018

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

circa 1913, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tomatillo

Spanish, diminutive of tomate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tomatillo

Statistics for tomatillo

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tomatillo

The first known use of tomatillo was circa 1913

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on tomatillo Encyclopedia article about tomatillo

Comments on tomatillo

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


amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!