Saffron is a deep yellow-orange colored spice that's commonly used in Middle Eastern and South Asian food. Because it's quite expensive, saffron is usually sold in small quantities.

Saffron looks like short, feathery threads — it's made from dried crocus stigmas, the thin stems at the center of the flower. A pinch of saffron, sometimes soaked in water, gives food a subtle sweet, grassy flavor and often a hint of orange or yellow color. This color itself is also called saffron. The word saffron comes from the Old French safran, by way of the Medieval Latin safranum, ultimately from the Arabic root az-za'faran.

Definitions of saffron
  1. noun
    Old World crocus having purple or white flowers with aromatic pungent orange stigmas used in flavoring food
    synonyms: Crocus sativus, saffron crocus
    see moresee less
    type of:
    any of numerous low-growing plants of the genus Crocus having slender grasslike leaves and white or yellow or purple flowers; native chiefly to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated
  2. noun
    dried pungent stigmas of the Old World saffron crocus
    see moresee less
    type of:
    flavorer, flavoring, flavourer, flavouring, seasoner, seasoning
    something added to food primarily for the savor it imparts
  3. noun
    a shade of yellow tinged with orange
    synonyms: orange yellow
    see moresee less
    ocher, ochre
    a moderate yellow-orange to orange color
    type of:
    yellow, yellowness
    yellow color or pigment; the chromatic color resembling the hue of sunflowers or ripe lemons
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week