Definition of saffron in English:



  • 1[mass noun] An orange-yellow flavouring, food colouring, and dye made from the dried stigmas of a crocus.

    • ‘Add the lobster consommé, heavy cream, saffron, and thyme and bring to a boil.’
    • ‘In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the chicken, onions, cilantro, saffron, cinnamon, butter, oil, gum arabic, and water to a boil.’
    • ‘Although it sounds like a painful urinary infection it is in fact an Indian ice cream made from saffron and pistachio nuts and reduced milk - something of a perfect end to a spicy meal.’
    • ‘I had the rasmalai - soft poached cheese dumplings in a light milk syrup flavoured with saffron.’
    • ‘Return the onion to the broth, discarding the bay leaf and thyme, then add the potatoes, saffron, salt and pepper.’
    • ‘Veggies can try Turkish vegetable brochettes with pepper, onions, zucchini, and cottage cheese with saffron rice or the spicier Thai vegetable curry with steamed rice.’
    • ‘As well as the cumin and masala flavour, Nestle is considering offering lemon cheesecake, liquorice, saffron and passion fruit.’
    • ‘Gently fry the bacon, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and then sauté onion, peppers, garlic, fennel and saffron.’
    • ‘Add the wine, saffron, and tarragon and simmer until reduced by half, about two minutes.’
    • ‘One formula to prevent baldness included a mixture of wine, saffron, pepper, vinegar and rat dung.’
    • ‘To make the sauce, place 50 ml of hot water, plus the vinegar, oregano, saffron, sugar and the oil into the processor.’
    • ‘To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, saffron, raisins and their water with sea salt and pepper in a large bowl.’
    • ‘Add the reserved pasta, saffron, paprika and parsley and mix to combine.’
    • ‘Michele knows intuitively what goes with what, teaming gruyère with baked eggs, rosewater with fruit salad, saffron with ricotta and cardamom with pears.’
    • ‘Mr Rahman said ingredients such as turmeric, saffron and paprika provided colour and were natural.’
    • ‘Cook up some rice with saffron and olive oil over an open fire, clean out your walk-in, and have a paella party.’
    • ‘Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the onion, celery, leek, curry powder, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, thyme and saffron.’
    • ‘In a pan that fits the chicken or lamb closely, put the cinnamon stick, onion, olive oil and saffron.’
    • ‘It is not normally found in food but - when illegally added - can increase weight and colour of spices such as chilli peppers, saffron, curry powder and paprika.’
    • ‘More than 100 people watched the pair cook up a late brunch, which included a recipe for monkfish with mussels and bacon, saffron rice and a lemon sauce.’
    • ‘The menu notes that the kitchen needs half an hour to prepare this traditional infusion of rice, saffron, seafood and sausage.’
    1. 1.1The orange-yellow colour of saffron.
      [as modifier] ‘the saffron robe of a Buddhist monk’
      • ‘The streets of Abbeyside were colourfully decorated all last week in the local blue and saffron colours to mark the victory by their Intermediate Team in the County Hurling Championships.’
      • ‘The Pedant in the Kitchen is a charming little book, somewhere between the colour of saffron and mustard.’
      • ‘However, since he couldn't get any Hindus to pose for him, he dressed up his own son as a Hindu, shaved head, saffron robes and all.’
      • ‘The meadows are awash with gorgeous colours - saffron, mountain rose and gentian - and the hotels are full of wholesome families in sturdy boots, all set for a day's hiking in the hills.’
      • ‘She, with her saffron robes and shaven head, embodies and personifies hard-core Hindutva without, at this late stage of her public career, having to make vitriolic speeches.’
      • ‘She is a very short woman in maroon and saffron robes.’
      • ‘The mummy itself is seated upright in meditation with a monk's saffron robes wrapped around its now chalky body.’
      • ‘A vest that can be worn underneath a monk's saffron robes and tested to withstand a round from a powerful handgun retails for abound 200 U.S. dollars.’
      • ‘They are clothed in saffron coloured robes and carry alms bowls.’
      • ‘Their robes were saffron so they were not from my country.’
      • ‘While BJP caps had saffron as the base colour, indicative of its ideology, the TDP caps had a heavy tinge of the ‘auspicious’ yellow.’
      • ‘In another demonstration, a man is clad in saffron robes and a false beard and seems to sit suspended in mid-air without any support but for a hand resting on a pole.’
      • ‘I watch rice being planted, traditional canoes paddled in peacoloured swamps and monks in saffron robes walking along red dirt roads.’
      • ‘The Indian women who came to buy rice, curry powder and spices were reserved and shy and almost always traditionally dressed in pink, purple or saffron saris.’
      • ‘Those clad in saffron robes carried flags and walked ahead.’
      • ‘Décor is mostly soft ochre and saffron in colour, with contemporary furniture.’
      • ‘It has the familiar, but always appealing, indigo and saffron colour scheme and wooden floor of many modern restaurants.’
      • ‘Momentarily a monk in his bright saffron robes appeared at the top of the slope, framed all around by the flames before he began his walk down to the cave.’
      • ‘She stood, letting her red, high-collared robes, trimmed with saffron orange, fall around her, over the simple ash-colored dress and boots.’
  • 2An autumn-flowering crocus with reddish-purple flowers, native to warmer regions of Eurasia. Enormous numbers of flowers are required to produce a small quantity of the large red stigmas used for the spice.

    • ‘These are stigma - but only in the saffron crocus are these stigma worth thousands of dollars per pound.’
    • ‘But you can actually buy and grow your saffron crocus, Crocus sativus.’
    • ‘Saffron is made up of tiny filaments that are the dried pollen stigmas of the saffron flower.’
    • ‘For example, we learn how the autumn-flowering saffron crocus, which produces the most expensive spice in the world, used to earn its British growers huge fortunes in the 16th century.’
    • ‘For 20 long days these workers will pick the saffron crocus from early morning until the entire crop of regal purple is gone.’
    • ‘One of the most special of the autumn flowering crocus is Crocus sativus, the saffron crocus.’
    • ‘Originally from W. Asia, and particularly from Persia, the saffron crocus has also been widely cultivated in S. Europe since ancient times, to be used for its medicinal properties, in food, and as a dye.’


Middle English: from Old French safran, based on Arabic za‘farān.