Definition of betel in English:



  • 1The leaf of an Asian evergreen climbing plant, which in the East is chewed as a mild stimulant.

    • ‘Do not miss the signature Lalot appetizer of betel leaf and beef, a world of wonders in two bites.’
    • ‘It is a treat to watch a veteran betel chewer go about the serious business of betel chewing.’
    • ‘It tastes like betel leaf, I suppose, but it goes down easily, like a glamorous form of baby porridge shipped in from the kitchens of old Ceylon.’
    • ‘Smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, and having a poor diet are important risk factors in the West, and chewing betel or areca nuts, smoking bidis, and taking snuff are important in the Indian subcontinent.’
    • ‘Paan: small pieces of areca nut are mixed with several other ingredients, sometimes including tobacco, wrapped in a betel leaf and chewed’
    • ‘The concoction which goes by the name of paan comprises betel leaves and a blend of aromatic substances which vary according to the type of paan.’
    • ‘Chewing the areca nut or betel leaf - this is a common practice among certain cultural groups such as those with Bangledeshi heritage.’
    • ‘Allusion is to the custom of chewing betel leaves with catechu on such occasions of which the juice reddens the lips.’
    • ‘In Turkey rose petals are boiled in water to flavour loucoum, and in India they are put into a heavy syrup to make gulkand, a rose-petal preserve which is used with betel leaf for cutting bitter aftertastes and refreshing the mouth.’
    • ‘Dinner had been served earlier, and the actor had stripped to a sarong and shirt, fixed himself some betel leaf, and was settling in to watch the television news.’
    • ‘Placed over all these containers is a large tray… in which raw betel leaves are placed, wrapped in a damp cloth…’
    • ‘On the other hand, a high frequency of p53 protein overexpression was reported in premalignant and malignant oral lesions of Indian patients who were heavy consumers of betel, areca nut and tobacco.’
    • ‘The culture of eating paan or betel leaf is believed to exist in India since the 3rd century A.D. Boxes for storing these were made of different materials and in various shapes and sizes.’
    • ‘Toraja carve decorations on large bamboo tubes used for carrying palm wine or rice, and people in eastern Indonesia decorate small bamboo tubes that carry lime used in betel chewing.’
    • ‘Women sell everything from tomatoes, chillies and betel to clay coffee roasters and straw sleeping mats.’
    • ‘Even older women who chew betel regularly make a point of how little tobacco they use within the quid, and cautioned other chewers of the strength of the tobacco.’
    • ‘Dr. Krishnaswamy said external application of herbs or applying betel leaf over the baby's stomach when it suffered from colic could bring some relief.’
    • ‘Muthassi was in the other room, seated on a mat, laughing as she recounted amusing anecdotes, while Muthassan, seated on the cot, stretched out his right hand for betel leaves.’
    • ‘Traditionally the men dance in circles around the women, who give the men betel to chew as they dance, but Hainuwele gives the people valuable gifts - coral, jewels, gongs, porcelain, and other things, all made from her excrement.’
    • ‘Sitting next to the temple's outer wall, she sold tobacco, sirih pinang (traditional chewing paste consisting of betel leaves, areca nut, lime and gambier) and candies to Yundana.’
    • ‘Yellow colour is extracted from turmeric, red from betel leaves, blue from Nilmoni fruit, black from burnt coconut shell soot.’
    • ‘As we admire rows of pineapples, betel leaves and birds-eye chillies, I look up and realise that we are under tall coconut palms laden with nuts.’
    • ‘Sometimes, betel leaves are also chewed along with the nuts.’
  • 2The plant, related to pepper, from which betel leaves are taken.

    • ‘Pan, or betel nut (seed of the betel palm) eaten with lime, is taken after meals and often throughout the day.’
    • ‘The pepper tree is a climber; on plantations it is usually grown on other trees - betel, palm, or mango - as its cordlike stems need support.’
    • ‘The betel vine grows well in marshy lands, with good rainfall but can be coaxed into growing in drier climes with profuse watering.’
    • ‘Chen said the council's plan is to ban the planting of betel trees on mountainsides with a gradient of more than 30 degrees.’
    • ‘The beaches of Kashid and Nandgaon with their whispering casuarina, coconut and betel palms are a balm for the weary city dweller.’
    • ‘In irrigated conditions, it can choose from sugarcane, maize, brinjal, chillies, mulberry, tomato, potato, turmeric, ginger, grapes, banana and betel.’
    • ‘Another way to round off a meal is to chew paan, which is the broad leaf of the betel plant sprinkled with a lime powder and kaat and can be mildly euphoric.’
    • ‘We sat on the green carpet, facing the ‘shrine’ consisting of a low table, a small cone of rice with egg on top, incense, flowers, a place for betel vine, and other ritual equipment.’
    • ‘People in the more accessible Central Mekeo rapidly found themselves in the enviable position of being the sole providers of large quantities of high quality betel pepper and areca nut.’
    • ‘Within weeks, as the betel crops of villagers throughout the region recovered, the people of Nganga and Pitoli lost their monopoly of the market.’
    • ‘The mildly narcotic nut of the betel palm is chewed by many labourers who say it helps them stay alert during long working hours.’
    • ‘These offerings include a goat, two cups and one box of cooked rice, a tray of ground rice cakes, five cups of sticky rice, lemon juice, and ten pieces of betel (a pepper plant).’
    • ‘It's betelnuts, the mildly narcotic seeds from the fruit of the betel pepper, used by truck drivers and labourers to help them stay awake.’
    • ‘The bunches of unripe berries picked from this parasitical climber of betel, palm and mango trees are dried in the sun to become peppercorn, the spice that was valued above all others.’
    • ‘I ask Woolford when we stop to wait for the porters to stuff betelnut - a mild stimulant extracted from the betel palm - into their cheeks.’


Mid 16th century: via Portuguese from Malayalam veṟṟila.