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.’’
- ‘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.’
- ‘They create beautiful spears, clubs, ceremonial bowls for kava drinking, and elaborately decorated seagoing canoes.’
2The Polynesian shrub from which kava is obtained.
Piper methysticum, family Piperaceae
- ‘There are no roads or cars - just tidy grassy areas where people dry the narcotic kava root in the sun.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘My neighbor says the herb kava is a natural way to calm nerves.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘If you have mood disorders such as depression, currently take mood-altering medication or have Parkinson's disease, avoid the herb kava.’
Late 18th century: from Tongan.
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