• synonyms


  1. 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.
  2. a nutritious starch from the roots, the source of tapioca.
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Origin of cassava

1545–55; < Spanish cazabe cassava bread or meal < Taino caçábi
Can be confusedcassava sweet potato yam
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cassava


  1. 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)
  2. a starch derived from the root of this plant: an important food in the tropics and a source of tapioca
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Word Origin for cassava

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

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper