Definition of fenugreek in US English:



  • A white-flowered herbaceous plant of the pea family, with aromatic seeds that are used for flavoring, especially ground and used in curry powder.

    Trigonella foenum-graecum, family Leguminosae

    • ‘The Nepalese use spices such as cumin, chili, turmeric, fennel, fenugreek, mustard seed, coriander, and the mixed-spice masala.’
    • ‘There is no part of the world that is not home to a variety of spices; cumin, coriander, fennel, fenugreek, nigella, sesame, anise, the list is endless.’
    • ‘Other common spices used with it in curries are coriander, fenugreek, cumin and chile.’
    • ‘Another study presented at the same meeting combined edible oils from fenugreek, cumin, and pumpkin seed as well as oregano oil, and found that the oils may enhance insulin sensitivity and lower blood pressure in diabetic rats.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, exports of chilli, coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek and fennel have gone up sharply.’
    • ‘They knew by long practice just how much fenugreek or black mustard seed a dish asked for.’
    • ‘Spices such as coriander seeds, cumin, black peppercorns, fenugreek, and chillies are blended with coconut, roasted until quite dark in colour, and then fried giving a toasted nutty taste and lending a dark colour to curries.’
    • ‘Generally, all spices except fenugreek and mustard shortened the food transit time.’
    • ‘At some point in the last year, my lovely mother-in-law gave me a kit for growing Indian cooking herbs - fenugreek, coriander and cumin.’
    • ‘You can grow them yourself from mung beans, brown lentils, chickpeas, fenugreek seeds or alfalfa seeds.’
    • ‘The spices - turmeric, black pepper, coriander, fenugreek, cumin and cayenne - formed something similar to a basic Madras curry powder, missing only the sweeter spices.’
    • ‘Some of the herbs that have been shown to help with inadequate or slow milk supply are raspberry, nettles, anise, fenugreek and fennel seeds and alfalfa.’
    • ‘Popularly known as methi, fenugreek seeds are an essential spice of an Indian kitchen.’


Old English fenogrecum (superseded in Middle English by forms from Old French fenugrec), from Latin faenugraecum, from faenum graecum ‘Greek hay’ (the Romans used the dried plant as fodder).