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licoriceGlycyrrhiza glabra

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English lycorys, from Old French licoresse, from Late Latin liquiritia, alteration of Ancient Greek γλυκύρριζα (glukúrrhiza): γλυκύς (glukús, sweet) + ῥίζα (rhíza, root) (English glucose, English rhizome). Doublet of glycyrrhiza.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈlɪ.k(ə).ɹɪʃ/, /ˈlɪ.k(ə).ɹɪs/
  • (file)


licorice (usually uncountable, plural licorices)

  1. (countable) The plant Glycyrrhiza glabra, or sometimes in North America the related American Licorice plant Glycyrrhiza lepidota.
  2. (uncountable) A type of candy made from that plant's dried root or its extract.
    Synonym: sugarallie (Scotland, informal)
  3. (countable and uncountable) A black colour, named after the licorice.
  4. (uncountable, chemistry) A flavouring agent made from dried root portions of the aforementioned plant.

Usage notes[edit]

The American spelling is nearer the Old French source licorece, which is ultimately from Ancient Greek γλυκύρριζα (glukúrrhiza).[1] The British spelling was influenced by the unrelated word liquor.[2] Licorice prevails in Canada and it is common in Australia, but it is rarely found in the UK. Liquorice is all but nonexistent in the US ("Chiefly British", according to dictionaries).[3]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas Harper, “licorice”, in Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2021.
  2. ^ Ernout, Alfred; Meillet, Antoine, Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue latine, Paris: Klincksieck, 2001, →ISBN, page 362
  3. ^ Peters, p. 321.

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of lycorys