Definition: Rice

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From Middle English rys, from Old French ris, from Old Italian riso, risi, from Byzantine Greek ὄρυζα or óruza, from an Eastern Iranian language related to Middle Persian blnj or *brinǰ. Theorized to come to Iranian languages from Sanskrit व्रीहि or vrīhi.

Prior to Sanskrit, it is speculated to be either a borrowing from a Dravidian language (compare Proto-Dravidian *wariñci (rice)), thence from Austroasiatic languages such as Proto-Mon-Khmer *sruʔ (paddy rice).


rice (countable and uncountable, plural rices)

  1. (uncountable) Cereal plants, Oryza sativa of the grass family whose seeds are used as food.
  2. (countable) A specific variety of this plant.
  3. (uncountable) The seeds of this plant used as food.

Derived terms

  • black rice
  • brown rice
  • fried rice
  • golden rice
  • Mexican rice
  • puffed rice
  • rice cake
  • rice milk
  • rice paddy
  • rice pudding
  • rice water
  • rice wine
  • Spanish rice
  • white rice
  • wild rice


rice (third-person singular simple present rices, present participle ricing, simple past and past participle riced)

  1. (transitive) To squeeze through a ricer; to mash or make into rice-sized pieces (especially potatoes).
  2. (intransitive) To harvest wild rice.


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