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[kuh-sah-vuh] /kəˈsɑ və/
any of several tropical American plants belonging to the genus Manihot, of the spurge family, as M. esculenta (bitter cassava) and M. dulcis (sweet cassava) cultivated for their tuberous roots, which yield important food products.
a nutritious starch from the roots, the source of tapioca.
Origin of cassava
1545-55; < Spanish cazabe cassava bread or meal < Taino caçábi
Can be confused
cassava, sweet potato, yam. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cassava
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How delicious the plantains and cassava tasted, and some well-dressed venison.

    In the Wilds of Africa W.H.G. Kingston
  • cassava is as vital to these Indians as the air they breathe.

    Edge of the Jungle William Beebe
  • Tapioca is a kind of starch prepared from the farina of cassava roots.

  • The ground-nuts and cassava hold their own against the grasses for years.

    Stanley in Africa James P. Boyd
  • The cassava cakes had dissolved into a soft, semi-liquid dough.

    Up the Mazaruni for Diamonds

    William La Varre
  • There were two bunches of bananas for me, and sundry baskets of cassava and peanuts.

    Lost in the Jungle Paul Du Chaillu
  • They raise boniatos and cassava, a little fruit, and keep a few pigs.

    Pioneering in Cuba James Meade Adams
British Dictionary definitions for cassava


Also called manioc. any tropical euphorbiaceous plant of the genus Manihot, esp the widely cultivated American species M. esculenta (or utilissima) (bitter cassava) and M. dulcis (sweet cassava)
a starch derived from the root of this plant: an important food in the tropics and a source of tapioca
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish cazabe cassava bread, from Taino caçábi
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cassava

1560s, from French cassave, Spanish casabe, or Portuguese cassave, from Taino (Haiti) caçabi. Earlier in English as cazabbi (1550s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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