Definition of liquorice in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlɪk(ə)rɪʃ/
Pronunciation: /ˈlɪk(ə)rɪs/
(US licorice)


1 [mass noun] A sweet, chewy, aromatic black substance made by evaporation from the juice of a root and used as a sweet and in medicine.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • A mix of liquorice, black fruits and farmyards tempt the nose.
  • 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.
1.1A sweet flavoured with liquorice.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Erin also made it a point to treat her sweet tooth every day with a small piece of chocolate, hard candy or licorice.
2The widely distributed plant of the pea family from which liquorice is obtained.
  • Genus Glycyrrhiza, family Leguminosae; many species are used locally to obtain liquorice, the chief commercial source being the cultivated G. glabra.
Example sentences
  • Herbal treatments may include garlic, eucalyptus, licorice, lobelia, marshmallow, red clover and saw palmetto.
  • 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.
  • New herbs introduced to the already comprehensive range for this year include lemon basil, pineapple sage, aniseed basil, liquorice and comfrey.


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

  • Contrary to appearances, liquorice has no connection with liquor (Middle English) which comes directly from Latin. The word goes back to a Greek compound formed from glukus ‘sweet’ (source of glucose (mid 19th century)), and rhiza ‘root’ (as in rhizome (mid 19th century)). Liquorice is made by evaporating the juice of the root of certain members of the pea family. Liquorice allsorts were introduced in 1899. The story behind their invention is that a salesman from the company, Bassett's, was visiting a client and showing him samples of the various liquorice sweets that the company made. The client was unimpressed by any of them until the salesman gathered up his samples to leave and in doing so dropped them all, creating a mix of sweets that the client liked.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: li¦quor|ice

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