I assume in many languages there are single terms to refer to "sunflower seeds", so I want to know if there is such a word in English also.

Example: Tonight we should eat sunflower seeds while watching the movie.

Edit: I don't understand why this question is off-topic. Although there is no single word as answer, current answers explain the reason well. I would expect that sunflower can imply "sunflower seeds" depend on the context and since we talk less about "sunflower plant". This was not something I can find in the dictionary.

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    Do you refer to the translation in English of the spanish word "pipas" illustrated by this image ? – Graffito Oct 27 '15 at 9:14
  • @Graffito: Yes. I assume in many languages there are single terms to refer to "sunflower seeds", so I want to know if there is such a word in English also. – Arman Fatahi Oct 27 '15 at 9:53
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    @Arman I'm sorry, but this ain't confectionery. Confectionery are sweet foods. – Elian Oct 27 '15 at 10:26
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    Sunflower seeds is just fine, why does it have to be "one word"? Dried apricots are two words, not one, is the English language any poorer for that? Olive oil two words, not one. The first word explains what type of seed, apricots and oil they are. – Mari-Lou A Oct 27 '15 at 13:19
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    There is a single word in Turkish: ayçekirdeği. (literally moonseed) It is a compound noun. – ermanen Oct 27 '15 at 14:37

Many plants lend their common English names to their constituent parts. "A rose" (by any other name), might refer to the entire plant, but it may also mean an individual bloom, perhaps on its stem. To clarify, you'd say something like "I bought a rose bush for the garden."

Some of these common names are widely understood to mean a particular part, by default, if not qualified in this way. This seems to be particularly true of edible parts.

"An apple", unless context suggests otherwise, means the fruit of the apple tree. To refer to the flower, you'd have to say apple blossom. Likewise, "a carrot" means the edible root part of that plant. Peas, beans, potatoes, nuts etc. follow this pattern.

However, "a sunflower" would be understood by most to mean the distinctive flower itself. If you want to refer to the edible part of that plant (as commonly sold as a snack food), you need to qualify it: "sunflower seeds".

This may be because the original main use of the plant in Western Europe was ornamental, rather than nutritional:

This exotic North American plant was taken to Europe by Spanish explorers some time around 1500. The plant became widespread throughout present-day Western Europe mainly as an ornamental, but some medicinal uses were developed. By 1716, an English patent was granted for squeezing oil from sunflower seed.

(From the National Sunflower Association website.)


There is no single word for 'sunflower seed' in English. (this can really only be confirmed by comprehensive dictionary search, so I'm only using native speaker intuition).

This may be obvious to native English speakers because 'sunflower seed' seems to be sufficient. But it isn't totally unreasonable to expect one. There are often single words where a noun and modifier would be sufficient, for example, young female horse is a 'filly'. Or a nut from the hazel tree (a hazelnut is one word but that doesn't seem fair) is a filbert.

There'd surely be an explosion of vocabulary if every possible nut or seed had a different unique name for each species of seeded plant. So that English is missing one more than your language is no big loss.

  • I would have thought this was obvious to any person, regardless of what language they speak, it's just using common sense. The OP should have first checked in a bi-lingual dictionary. Why isn't the OP's question being closed? That's my question. – Mari-Lou A Oct 27 '15 at 14:05
  • sunflower seeds takes three words to translate into Spanish, not one. – Nihilist_Frost Oct 27 '15 at 14:11
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    @Mari-LouA hm... yes, you're right, dictionary first. But no it's not obvious even for people who know more than one language. The drive for a single word is very strong however arbitrary its existence might be. – Mitch Oct 27 '15 at 14:57

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