Definition of betel in English:

betel

noun

  • 1The leaf of an Asian evergreen climbing plant that is used in the East as a mild stimulant. Parings of areca nut, lime, and cinnamon are wrapped in the leaf, which is then chewed, causing the saliva to go red and, with prolonged use, the teeth to go black.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chewing the areca nut or betel leaf - this is a common practice among certain cultural groups such as those with Bangledeshi heritage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Paan: small pieces of areca nut are mixed with several other ingredients, sometimes including tobacco, wrapped in a betel leaf and chewed’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Women sell everything from tomatoes, chillies and betel to clay coffee roasters and straw sleeping mats.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Placed over all these containers is a large tray… in which raw betel leaves are placed, wrapped in a damp cloth…’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yellow colour is extracted from turmeric, red from betel leaves, blue from Nilmoni fruit, black from burnt coconut shell soot.’
    • ‘Allusion is to the custom of chewing betel leaves with catechu on such occasions of which the juice reddens the lips.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2The plant, related to pepper, from which the betel leaves are taken.

    • ‘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 mildly narcotic nut of the betel palm is chewed by many labourers who say it helps them stay alert during long working hours.’
    • ‘The beaches of Kashid and Nandgaon with their whispering casuarina, coconut and betel palms are a balm for the weary city dweller.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The betel vine grows well in marshy lands, with good rainfall but can be coaxed into growing in drier climes with profuse watering.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chen said the council's plan is to ban the planting of betel trees on mountainsides with a gradient of more than 30 degrees.’
    • ‘In irrigated conditions, it can choose from sugarcane, maize, brinjal, chillies, mulberry, tomato, potato, turmeric, ginger, grapes, banana and betel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Within weeks, as the betel crops of villagers throughout the region recovered, the people of Nganga and Pitoli lost their monopoly of the market.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘Pan, or betel nut (seed of the betel palm) eaten with lime, is taken after meals and often throughout the day.’

Origin

Mid 16th century: via Portuguese from Malayalam veṛṛila.

Pronunciation:

betel

/ˈbēdl/