Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[ses-uh-mee] /ˈsɛs ə mi/
a tropical, herbaceous plant, Sesamum indicum, whose small oval seeds are edible and yield an oil.
the seeds themselves, used to add flavor to bread, crackers, etc.
Also called benne (for defs 1, 2).
Origin of sesame
late Middle English
1400-50; < Greek sēsámē sesame plant ≪ Akkadian shamashshammū, derived from shaman shammī plant oil; replacing sesam, late Middle English sysane < Latin sēsamum < Greek sḗsamon sesame seed Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for sesame
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was made from pig's fat, sesame, bitter almonds, and turpentine.

    Anabasis Xenophon
  • When he had done he stood before the door, and pronouncing the words: "Shut, sesame!"

  • When he reached the entrance of the cavern, he pronounced the words: "Open, sesame!"

  • But to Mr. Bell they were magic music, the sesame to a new country.

    Ted and the Telephone Sara Ware Bassett
  • Now Nos. 28 and 29 are the premises of the sesame Club for ladies.

    Mayfair, Belgravia, and Bayswater

    Geraldine Edith Mitton
British Dictionary definitions for sesame


a tropical herbaceous plant, Sesamum indicum, of the East Indies, cultivated, esp in India, for its small oval seeds: family Pedaliaceae
the seeds of this plant, used in flavouring bread and yielding an edible oil (benne oil or gingili)
Also called benne, gingili, til
Word Origin
C15: from Latin sēsamum, from Greek sēsamon, sēsamē, of Semitic origin; related to Arabic simsim
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for sesame

early 15c., probably from Middle French sisame and directly from Latin sesamum (nominative sesama), from Greek sesamon (Doric sasamon) "seed or fruit of the sesame plant," a very early borrowing via Phoenician from Late Babylonian *shawash-shammu (cf. Assyrian shamash-shammu "sesame," literally "oil-seed"). First as a magic password in 1785 translation of Galland's "Mille et une nuits," where it opens the door of the thieves' den in "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves." Phrase open sesame current since about 1826.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for sesame

Word Value for sesame

Scrabble Words With Friends