to·​ma·​til·​lo ˌtō-mə-ˈtē-(ˌ)yō How to pronounce tomatillo (audio) -ˈtēl-(ˌ)yō How to pronounce tomatillo (audio)
plural tomatillos
: 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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The gilding is nice but unnecessary; the tetela doesn’t really need more than a spattering of the silky avocado-tomatillo salsa served alongside. Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2022 Toss your leftover turkey with tomatillo salsa, cannellini beans, and spelt (an ancient grain closely related to wheat). Andrea Beck, Better Homes & Gardens, 26 Oct. 2022 Then there’s butterflied branzino, one side painted red, the other green, with sauces coaxed from guajillo mayonnaise and tomatillo and serrano, respectively. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2022 What to order: Go for the divine carnitas, made with pork shoulder confit and bright acidic avocado mousse, pickled red onions, shaved tomatillo and cilantro. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Aug. 2021 Smash together avocados, tomatillo salsa, lime juice, salt and ¼ cup of the cilantro in a large bowl until slightly chunky. People Staff, Peoplemag, 27 Sep. 2022 Filled with either beef barbacoa or shrimp, two are served with a consommé dipping sauce and fresh tomatillo salsa. San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Aug. 2022 At Sweet Liberty Drinks & Company in Miami Beach, this dish is made with cilantro, garlic, lime juice, jalapeño peppers, serrano pepper, tomatillo, fresh avocado, cucumber and shallots. Aly Walansky, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 Essential in Mexican cuisine, the plump, usually green and definitely cute tomatillo gives brightness, tang and a distinctly fresh flavor to just about anything. Christian Reynoso, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 July 2022 See More

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.

Word History


Spanish, diminutive of tomate

First Known Use

circa 1913, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tomatillo was circa 1913

Dictionary Entries Near tomatillo

Cite this Entry

“Tomatillo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

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