Definition of cocoyam in English:



  • (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).

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The staple foods of Equatorial Guinea are cocoyams, plantains, and rice.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Forest crops, such as plantain, cassava, cocoyam, and tropical yams, predominate in the south.’
    • ‘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.’


Early 20th century: probably from coco (sense 2)+ yam.