[ lik-er-ish, lik-rish, lik-uh-ris ]
/ ˈlɪk ər ɪʃ, ˈlɪk rɪʃ, ˈlɪk ə rɪs /


a Eurasian plant, Glycyrrhiza glabra, of the legume family.
the sweet-tasting, dried root of this plant or an extract made from it, used in medicine, confectionery, etc.
a candy flavored with licorice root.
any of various related or similar plants.

Nearby words

  1. lickerishly,
  2. lickety-split,
  3. licking,
  4. licking river,
  5. lickspittle,
  6. licorice stick,
  7. lictor,
  8. lictorian,
  9. lid,
  10. lidar

Also liquorice.

Origin of licorice

1175–1225; Middle English lycorys < Anglo-French < Vulgar Latin *liquiritia for Latin glycyrrhiza < Greek glykýrriza sweetroot (plant), equivalent to glyký(s) sweet + rhíza root1; see -ia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for licorice

British Dictionary definitions for licorice


/ (ˈlɪkərɪs) /


the usual US and Canadian spelling of liquorice
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 licorice



also liquorice, c.1200, from Anglo-French lycoryc, Old French licorece (also recolice), from Late Latin liquiritia, alteration of Latin glychyrrhiza, from Greek glykyrrhiza, literally "sweet root," from glykys "sweet" (see glucose) + rhiza "root" (see radish); form influenced in Latin by liquere "become fluid," because of the method of extracting the sweet stuff from the root. French réglisse, Italian regolizia are the same word, with metathesis of -l- and -r-.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper