hal·vah or hal·va (häl-vä, hälvä)
A crumbly confection of ground sesame seeds mixed with sugar syrup or honey and often other flavorings and pressed into a solid mass.
[Ultimately (partly via Turkish helva) from Arabic ḥalwā, from ḥaluwa, to be sweet; see x̣lw in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.