pungent powder made from the root of an East Indian plant, 1530s, altered from Middle English turmeryte (early 15c.), which is of uncertain origin. "Middle English Compendium" compares Medieval Latin terra merita (16c.), French terre mérite (17c.), literally "worthy earth," though the reason why it would be called this is obscure. Klein suggests it might be a folk-etymology corruption of Arabic kurkum "curcuma, saffron."
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to get a share of something."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek meros "part, lot," moira "share, fate," moros "fate, destiny, doom;" Hittite mark "to divide" a sacrifice; Latin merere, meriri "to earn, deserve, acquire, gain."
It forms all or part of: inter; Mediterranean; metatarsal; parterre; subterranean; tarsal; tarsus; Tartuffe; terra; terrace; terra-cotta; terrain; terran; terraqueous; terrarium; terrene; terrestrial; terrier; territory; thirst; toast; torrent; torrid; turmeric; tureen.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit tarsayati "dries up;" Avestan tarshu- "dry, solid;" Greek teresesthai "to become or be dry," tersainein "to make dry;" Latin torrere "dry up, parch," terra "earth, land;" Gothic þaursus "dry, barren," Old High German thurri, German dürr, Old English þyrre "dry;" Old English þurstig "thirsty."