turmeric (n.)

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."

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*(s)mer- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to get a share of something." 

It forms all or part of: demerit; emeritus; isomer; isomeric; meretricious; merism; meristem; merit; meritorious; mero-; monomer; Moira; polymer; turmeric.

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."

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Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to dry."

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."

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curcumin (n.)

coloring matter of turmeric, 1838 (by 1805 in German), from Curcuma, genus name for plants of the ginger family, from which the chemical was drawn, Medieval Latin, from Arabic kurkum "saffron, turmeric." Compare crocus.

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curry (n.)

a kind of Indian dish or the sauce used upon it, 1590s (as carriel), probably adopted into English via Portuguese caril and its plural caris, and ultimately derived from mingling of various south Indian (Dravidian) words including Middle Kannada, Middle Tamil and Malayalam kari, often indicating something "black in color" or "burnt," and thus applied broadly to spices and meats. In modern Indian cookery, "curry" refers to spice blends with turmeric as their key ingredient; spice blends without turmeric are called masala

Of European dishes spiced after the Indian style, 1747 in British English. As the spice blend used in making the sauce, 1780. Extended to exotic, spicy sauces from outside of India (Thai curry, Indonesian curry, etc.) by 1680s. The verb meaning "flavor with curry" is by 1839.

The Murraya koenigii or Bergera koenigii is called curry tree, in English by 1822, probably through one of the south Indian languages. The kari name of the plant comes from the perceived blackness of the leaves (compare the Sanskrit name of the tree, krshnaneembapatram "black neem leaf.")

The Middle English term curry, cury, curye, etc. meaning "cookery; culinary art; concoction" (late 14c.) is unrelated to the Dravidian word or its eventual adoption into English. This word is from Old French queverie, "cookery; culinary art," ultimately from Latin coquus "cook."

Bot folk a cury may miscuke, that knawledge wantis,  
And has na colouris for to cover thair awne kindly fautis
[William Dunbar, Treatis of the Twa Mariit Women and the Wedo, ca. 1508]
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