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cum·in / ˈkəmən; ˈk(y)oō-/ (also cummin) • n. 1. the aromatic seeds of a plant of the parsley family, used as a spice, esp. ground and used in curry powder. 2. the small, slender plant (Cuminum cyminum) that bears this fruit and grows from the Mediterranean to central Asia.

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CUMIN (Heb. כַּמּוֹן, kammon; Isa. 28:25, 27), the spice Cuminum cyminum. In mishnaic times cumin grew extensively in Ereẓ Israel and was even exported (Dem. 1:1), the local variety being superior to that of Cyprus (tj, Dem. 2:1, 22b). It was used as a spice for eating with bread, and it was popular though it was regarded as a luxury and was excluded from the commodities which it was forbidden to hoard in years of famine (bb 90b). Since cumin was effective in stemming the flow of blood, it was used to stem bleeding caused by circumcision (Shab. 19:2) and the menstrual flow (Shab. 110b). Today cumin is occasionally grown as a condiment in Ereẓ Israel. It scatters its seeds and thus grows wild in a number of places.


Loew, Flora, 3 (1924), 435–9; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 182. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 85.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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cumin (cummin) Pungent herb, the crescent‐shaped seed of Cuminum cyminum (parsley family); used in curry powder and for flavouring cordials. Black cumin is the seed of Nigella sativa (fennel flower) and sweet cumin is anise (Pimpinella anisum).