• synonyms


  1. Also called garbanzo. a widely cultivated plant, Cicer arietinum, of the legume family, bearing pods containing pealike seeds.
  2. the seeds of this plant, used extensively as a food.
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Origin of chickpea

1540–50; alteration of chich-pea, equivalent to late Middle English chiche (< Middle FrenchLatin cicer chickpea) + pea1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chick-pea

Historical Examples

  • A kind of chick-pea, much used in Spain, especially in the olla podrida.

    Roman Catholicism in Spain


  • The chick-pea has not been found in the lake-dwellings of Switzerland, Savoy, and Italy.

    Origin of Cultivated Plants

    Alphonse De Candolle

  • The gram, or chick-pea, and various kinds of pea and vetch are grown intermixed with the wheat.

  • Parched gram, or chick-pea, is commonly used by Indian travellers as a convenient and readily portable form of food.

  • The chick-pea, as found by experiment, can be parched over coals in a few moments and thus be made edible.

    The Laurel Health Cookery

    Evora Bucknum Perkins

British Dictionary definitions for chick-pea


  1. a bushy leguminous plant, Cicer arietinum, cultivated for its edible pealike seeds in the Mediterranean region, central Asia, and Africa
  2. Also called: garbanzo the seed of this plant
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Word Origin

C16 ciche peasen, from ciche (from French chiche, from Latin cicer chickpea) + peasen; see pea
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 chick-pea


1712, false singular back-formation from chich-pease (1540s), from French pois chiche, from Latin cicer "pea," of uncertain origin, but with likely cognates in Greek kikerroi "pale," Armenian sisern "chick-pea," Albanian thjer "lentil." For second element, see pease. The Latin plural, cicera, is also the source of Italian cece and was borrowed into Old High German as chihhra (German Kichererbse).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper