• synonyms


[ar-oh-root, -roo t]
  1. a tropical American plant, Maranta arundinacea, the rhizomes of which yield a nutritious starch.
  2. the starch itself.
  3. any of several other plants yielding a similar starch.
  4. the starch of these plants, used in cooking as a binder or thickener.
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Origin of arrowroot

First recorded in 1690–1700; so called from use of its root in treatment of wounds made by poisoned arrows
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for arrowroot

Historical Examples

  • When it thickens, add the arrowroot, also mixed smoothly with milk.

    The Skilful Cook

    Mary Harrison

  • She was taking him the arrowroot which I had ordered over-night.

  • Please send some fever medicine, by the bearer, and some arrowroot.

  • The flour grated from the mass should be used the same as arrowroot or rice.'

    The Physical Life of Woman:

    Dr. George H Napheys

  • The best hats are made of the stalks of the arrowroot plant.

    The Life of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson

    Nellie van De Grift Sanchez

British Dictionary definitions for arrowroot


  1. a white-flowered West Indian plant, Maranta arundinacea, whose rhizomes yield an easily digestible starch: family Marantaceae
  2. the starch obtained from this plant
  3. any of several other plants whose rhizomes or roots yield starch
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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

Word Origin and History for arrowroot


1690s, from arrow + root (n.). So called because it was used to absorb toxins from poison-dart wounds.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper