One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1mass noun A narcotic sedative drink made in Polynesia from the crushed roots of a plant of the pepper family.
- ‘Also, avoid combining kava with alcohol or sedatives.’
- ‘In Polynesia, kava is considered the ‘drink of the gods.’’
- ‘They create beautiful spears, clubs, ceremonial bowls for kava drinking, and elaborately decorated seagoing canoes.’
- ‘In many cultures, men and occasionally women retire each evening to the nakamal to prepare and drink kava, an infusion of the pepper plant.’
- ‘All chief ceremonies, however, regardless of village, culminate in the kava ceremony wherein the candidate drinks kava for the first time as the new chief.’
2The Polynesian shrub from which kava is obtained.
Piper methysticum, family Piperaceae
- ‘My neighbor says the herb kava is a natural way to calm nerves.’
- ‘The first version portrays him as parting the sea with a cycas leaf, the second adds soil enclosed in a wild kava leaf and a bamboo flute to the ritual paraphernalia of departure.’
- ‘If you have mood disorders such as depression, currently take mood-altering medication or have Parkinson's disease, avoid the herb kava.’
- ‘Visitors are invited to partake in a yaqona - a welcoming ceremony with a drink brewed from kava root, served in an ironwood bowl, and sipped from a coconut-shell dish.’
- ‘There are no roads or cars - just tidy grassy areas where people dry the narcotic kava root in the sun.’
- ‘Conversely, Hawaiians were traditionally the biggest gamblers of Polynesia - going so far as to wager their own lives in surfing competitions - and they made fermented drinks of kava roots.’
Late 18th century: from Tongan.
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