tur·mer·ic (tûrmər-ĭk, t-)
1. A widely cultivated tropical plant (Curcuma longa) of India, having yellow flowers and an aromatic, somewhat fleshy rhizome.
2. The powdered rhizome of this plant, used as a spice and a yellow dye.
3. Any of several other plants having similar rhizomes.
[Alteration of Middle English termeryte; akin to French terre mérite and New Latin terra merita, turmeric (New Latin, from Latin terra, earth; see ters- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + merita, feminine past participle of merēre, to deserve; see (s)mer-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.