[keen-wah, kee-noh-uh]


a tall crop plant, Chenopodium quinoa, of the amaranth family, cultivated mainly in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile for its small, ivory-colored seed, which is used as a food staple.

Also quinua.

Origin of quinoa

1615–25; < Spanish < Quechua kinua, kinoa
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for quinoa

Contemporary Examples of quinoa

Historical Examples of quinoa

  • Since this list was printed, I have been informed that the quinoa is wild in Chili.

    Origin of Cultivated Plants

    Alphonse De Candolle

  • We noticed also quinoa and even barley growing at an elevation of 14,000 feet.

    Inca Land

    Hiram Bingham

  • Previous to the discovery of America, “quinoa” was an article of food, supplying the place of wheat.

  • The quinoa seeds, when boiled, are both pleasant and nutritious, but especially so when boiled in milk.

  • The Indians of Cochinoca and Susques sow lucerne and barley for fodder, and the quinoa and potato for food.

British Dictionary definitions for quinoa



a grain high in nutrients traditionally grown as a staple food high in the Andes

Word Origin for quinoa

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 quinoa

1620s, from Spanish spelling of Quechua kinua.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper