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any of several tropical American plants belonging to the genus Manihot, of the spurge family, as M. esculenta (bitter cassava) and M. dulcis (sweet cassava) cultivated for their tuberous roots, which yield important food products.
a nutritious starch from the roots, the source of tapioca.
Contemporary Examples

Sometimes the attacks happen on their way to and from the market or their cassava fields.
Congo Rape Crisis: Study Reveals Shocking New Numbers Danielle Shapiro May 10, 2011

A quick turn at a small stand of banana palms and cassava plants led us to a clearing and, then, back centuries.
Uncovering Jamaica’s Jewish Past Debra A. Klein November 30, 2013

When a friend had potato greens for lunch, I traded her some of my cassava leaves.
My Vanished Liberia Leymah Gbowee October 6, 2011

Historical Examples

Meat they hardly touch; rice, maize, curcur, millet and cassava are their ordinary food.
The Social Contract & Discourses Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The ground-nuts and cassava hold their own against the grasses for years.
Stanley in Africa James P. Boyd

I searched a long time for the cassava root, which I knew the Indians in that climate made their bread of, but all in vain.
The Life and Most Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner (1801) Daniel Defoe

They brought us cassava and fruit, these Indians; they swarmed about us in their canoes.
1492 Mary Johnston

The manioc root, of which cassava bread is made, also grows abundantly here, and basket work is rather an important industry too.
The Idler Magazine, Volume III, April 1893 Various

“Then let her give us some cassava,” and lighted a fresh cigar.
Westward Ho! Charles Kingsley

The German traveler Humboldt drank it from the shell of a calabash, and the natives dip their bread of maize or cassava in it.
Among the Trees at Elmridge Ella Rodman Church

Also called manioc. any tropical euphorbiaceous plant of the genus Manihot, esp the widely cultivated American species M. esculenta (or utilissima) (bitter cassava) and M. dulcis (sweet cassava)
a starch derived from the root of this plant: an important food in the tropics and a source of tapioca

1560s, from French cassave, Spanish casabe, or Portuguese cassave, from Taino (Haiti) caçabi. Earlier in English as cazabbi (1550s).


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