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frijole (frēhōˈlē) [key] [Span. fríjol  ], in Mexico and the Spanish American countries, any cultivated bean of the genus Phaseolus. The term frijole refers to the small, flat, black bean that ranks next to corn in importance in the diet of most Latin American countries. It is probably of South American origin and belongs to the same family as the bean introduced into Europe in the 16th cent., from which sprang many of the modern cultivated varieties.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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