Anise is pronounced "an-is." The first syllable has the accent, and its "a" is pronounced as a short vowel sound, making the syllable sound like the word "an." The second syllable has a short vowel sound and a soft "s."
The word has roots in Middle English, Old French, Latin and Greek. It is the name of a Mediterranean plant with small flowers that produce aniseed. Oil from the seeds of these flowers is used in cooking and in medicine. It has a flavor reminiscent of licorice. In cooking, it is primarily used in baking sweets, such as cakes and cookies.