Definition of sassafras in English:

sassafras

noun

  • 1A deciduous North American tree with aromatic leaves and bark. The leaves are infused to make tea or ground into filé.

    • ‘Other trees are blackjack oak, post oak, and sassafras.’
    • ‘It was all washed down with a delicious tea made from the leaves of the sassafras, whose benefits were once known only to the Aborigines.’
    • ‘Between 150 and 100 million years ago, the cycads were joined by figs, sassafras, oaks, and willows, as well as such evergreen plants as sequoias and palms.’
    • ‘In many other trees such as black gum, sassafras, dogwood, and some maples and oaks, the pigment anthocyanin adds red to the palette.’
    • ‘Some also find natural gardening methods to be very effective, such as using mosquito-repelling plants like sassafras, sweet basil, eucalyptus and geraniums, particularly the citrosa variety.’
    • ‘Among the thousands of species he planted on LaGuardia Place are red and white oak, cedar, elm, birch, sassafras, dogwood, sumac, Virginia creeper and goldenrod.’
    • ‘Many plants contain traces of cancer-causing chemicals, like safrole, which is abundant in the roots of sassafras.’
    • ‘The mitten-shaped foliage you sent appears to be that of a sassafras, a small to medium tree with fruit that turns deep blue and is carried on a bright red stalk.’
    • ‘Associated species were pignut and mockernut, hickories, black gum, red maple, sassafras, sourwood, and white ash.’
    • ‘There was something lonely about the figure of the old man wandering along the fencerow filled with sassafras and elderberry.’
    • ‘So it starts off through a fantastic grove of sassafras and tree ferns and descends down through the forest with the trees growing bigger and bigger as you descend into the valley floor, where the Blue Tier Giant stands above the Groom River.’
    • ‘The woods near our home were thick with walnut, white oak, sweet birch, sassafras, hemlock, red maple, juniper, tulip trees, and many more species I couldn't name.’
    • ‘His poems on crocus, bittersweet, sycamore, sassafras and the like are celebrations of the natural world.’
    • ‘And so, shaded by eucalyptus trees, amidst the sweet scents of sassafras and olearia, the people lay down to rest.’
    • ‘The dogwood, oak, chestnut, pine, red maple, black locust, sassafras, hickory, willow, cottonwood, and redbud dotted the landscape.’
    • ‘Rich hardwoods of myrtle, blackwood, sassafras and Huon pine mingle with common eucalypts.’
    • ‘Missing from the listing are rapidly growing shrubby invasive or edge species such as sassafras, pawpaw, hawthorn, and mulberry.’
    • ‘Other trees such as pine, spruce, maple, sassafras, and birch made up the rest of the forest.’
    • ‘These are old forests of white oak and water oak and red oak and every kind of pine and dogwood and redbud and maple and sycamore and sassafras all of them making such a show of color in the fall that it takes your breath away.’
    1. 1.1mass noun An extract of the leaves or bark of the sassafras, used medicinally or in perfumery.
      • ‘Wormood, pennyroyal, onion, camphor, horseradish, wintergreen, rue, bitter almond and sassafras are some of the essential oils that should only be used by qualified aromatherapy practitioners, if ever at all.’
      • ‘Some traditional herbal products display known toxicities (e.g., calamus, comfrey, and sassafras all have been shown to have carcinogenic actions).’

Origin

Late 16th century: from Spanish sasafrás, based on Latin saxifraga ‘saxifrage’.

Pronunciation

sassafras

/ˈsasəfras/