One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in West Africa) either of two plants of the arum family with edible corms, i.e. taro (also old cocoyam) and tannia (also new cocoyam).
- ‘Forest crops, such as plantain, cassava, cocoyam, and tropical yams, predominate in the south.’
- ‘If peoples in the Eastern Delta did not do much farming, how did they obtain the yams, cocoyams, plantains, cassava, fruits, and vegetables that were the basis of their diet?’
- ‘Over the last 30 years, this insect has evolved into a major pest threat in the Congo Basin for crops such as yam, cocoyam, and particularly cassava.’
- ‘The staple foods of Equatorial Guinea are cocoyams, plantains, and rice.’
- ‘In the southern areas, the major staples are root crops such as cassava and cocoyams, and plantains and in the arid north, sorghum and millet.’
Early 20th century: probably from coco (sense 2)+ yam.
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