Definition of liquorice in English:


(US licorice)


  • 1mass noun A sweet, chewy, aromatic black substance made by evaporation from the juice of a root and used as a sweet and in medicine.

    • ‘They breathe a refreshing complexity of black currant, blueberry, black cherry and kirsch, intermingled with violet, cocoa, coffee, pepper, licorice, and warm spices.’
    • ‘Another possible health benefit: An acid present in black licorice, glycyrrhizin, has been used in Japan for more than 20 years as a treatment for chronic hepatitis.’
    • ‘Her eyes were as black as licorice, and her pale, pale skin was covered in men's clothing.’
    • ‘Caffeine and even excessive black licorice may keep your blood pressure elevated.’
    • ‘The most effective scents for getting a genuine physical reaction were mixtures of lavender and pumpkin pie, doughnut and black liquorice, and pumpkin pie and doughnut.’
    • ‘Also scoring high was the erotic mix of black licorice and doughnut.’
    • ‘An occasional treat rarely causes people any trouble, but those who eat black licorice regularly can experience hormone imbalance and potassium loss.’
    • ‘Occasionally, the ingestion of black licorice, lead, iron supplements, or blueberries can cause black stool and false melena.’
    • ‘The drink is made using the root blended with ingredients like liquorice and ginger to create a cordial.’
    • ‘Although this combines powerful cherry notes, threaded with liquorice, backed by chewy tannins and topped with sparkling acidity, it is not yet ready to drink.’
    • ‘A whoosh of freshly ground mocha coffee hits the nose and then, once the wine hits your mouth, it's joined by black fruits, liquorice, spice and a spray of refreshing acidity.’
    • ‘They come in all sorts of flavours, including apple, honey, mint, grape, melon, pistachio, black licorice, cappuccino and fakhfakhina, a mix of exotic fruit and whipped cream.’
    • ‘I loved black licorice, but it raised my eye pressure nearly off the charts.’
    • ‘Just a handful of black licorice on a regular basis can reduce the amount of potassium in the body and may lead to fluid retention, not to mention irregular heart rhythms.’
    • ‘A mix of liquorice, black fruits and farmyards tempt the nose.’
    • ‘My daughter and I both crave it, but I understand that black licorice could be harmful.’
    • ‘After my years of literally swallowing the homeopathic conviction that licorice is the root of all health, the prospect of sipping parsley soup seasoned with the sticky elixir prompted a fit of involuntary grimacing.’
    • ‘The asphalt is sticky black licorice and the traffic lights pulse to a blind man's marching tune.’
    • ‘In traditional Chinese medicine, licorice is known as a healing agent; and Europeans use it in cough suppressants and in ulcer medications.’
    • ‘Smooth and very drinkable, this delivers subtle notes of aniseed, liquorice, spice and lemon peel.’
    1. 1.1 A sweet flavoured with liquorice.
      as modifier ‘liquorice gumdrops’
      • ‘She brought homemade caramels, homemade licorice, pumpkin bread, cranberry orange bread, butter cream cookies, baklava and so many other things I can't really remember it all.’
      • ‘A bag of suckers, chocolate cupcakes, caramels, jawbreakers and licorice all went into the bag first.’
      • ‘Fill a pail with your choice of 300 different kinds of candy sold by the pound, including caramels, licorice, and atomic fireballs.’
      • ‘If the ritual centers around the oral fixation, and not the tobacco or the smoke itself, you could substitute a lollipop, licorice or hard sour candy for the cigarette.’
      • ‘If our diets consisted of only 800 calories then it wouldn't matter if you were eating Pez candies and licorice, you would still lose weight.’
      • ‘Inside this nearly inedible shell is a reasonably tasty caramelized banana concoction, which is made off-putting by a scattering of slices of black licorice.’
      • ‘Erin also made it a point to treat her sweet tooth every day with a small piece of chocolate, hard candy or licorice.’
      • ‘Nearly eight years after Victory in Europe, the limit on jelly babies, pastilles, liquorice, barley sugar sticks, lemonade powder and chocolate bars was finally lifted - and a nation of schoolchildren cheered.’
      • ‘The wheelchair was made of black and red licorice and the wheels were made of humbugs.’
  • 2The widely distributed plant of the pea family from which liquorice is obtained.

    • ‘The licorice root is a widely used herb which provides soothing benefits.’
    • ‘New herbs introduced to the already comprehensive range for this year include lemon basil, pineapple sage, aniseed basil, liquorice and comfrey.’
    • ‘This is due to the licorice in the formula and is not attributed to peony.’
    • ‘Glycyrrhizin, a triterpenoid compound, accounts for the sweet taste of licorice root.’
    • ‘Prepare 1,000 grams of mutton, 10 grams of licorice root and 10 grams of Chinese angelica (both available in Chinese drugstores).’
    • ‘Several herbs also help rebalance the female endocrine system, including angelica (dong quai), licorice root, black cohosh, and chasteberries.’
    • ‘Containing dandelion, burdock, sarsparilla, milk thistle, liquorice, yellow dock, turmeric and red clover, a bottle provides about 30 servings as you dilute it with either still or sparkling water.’
    • ‘The most commonly used herb in Chinese medicine, licorice has a number of health benefits.’
    • ‘Glycyrrhiza glabra, or licorice (not the candy), is one of the premier Chinese adaptogenic herbs, now utilized worldwide for a variety of conditions.’
    • ‘Liquid formulas and pills containing such herbs as spirulina and milk thistle, chlorophyll, red clover, echinacea and licorice root are ingested.’
    • ‘Herbal treatments may include garlic, eucalyptus, licorice, lobelia, marshmallow, red clover and saw palmetto.’
    • ‘Stepping into the chemists shop with its huge glass bottles of green and purple liquid, jars of liquorice root and its distinctive smell of carbolic soap took me straight back to my grandmother's house.’
    • ‘For example, you can satisfy a sugar craving with a tea sweetened by licorice root.’


Middle English: from Old French licoresse, from late Latin liquiritia, from Greek glukurrhiza, from glukus ‘sweet’ + rhiza ‘root’.