1. An erect annual plant (Sesamum indicum) native to tropical Asia, widely cultivated for its small flat seeds.
2. The seed of this plant, used as food and as a source of oil. In both senses also called benne, til1.
[Middle English sisamie, from Latin sēsamum, from Greek sēsamē, sēsamon, probably ultimately from Akkadian šamaššammū : šamnu, oil; see šmn in the Appendix of Semitic roots + šammu, plant; see śmm in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
(click for a larger image)sesame
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.