One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A tropical American shrub that is widely grown for its leaves, which are the source of cocaine.
- ‘The crop-substitution programs begun by the government offer crops to replace the coca.’
- ‘Cocaine is derived from the leaves of Erythroxylon coca, a shrub native to South America.’
- ‘The idea is to try and drive back the guerrillas and move in to spray the coca and poppies.’
- ‘The Dutch colonial houses were graceful and large, set back amid cocas, kanary, and nutmeg trees, while the rest of the small town lay half hidden in the foliage of palms.’
- ‘As part of a U.S. funded plan, farmers have been paid $2,500 for each acre of hectare of Bolivian coca destroyed.’
- 1.1 The dried leaves of the coca plant, which are mixed with lime and chewed as a stimulant by the indigenous people of western South America.
- ‘More than 14,800 tons of toxic chemicals are dumped into the Amazon jungle every year as traffickers turn coca into raw cocaine paste.’
- ‘Moments of grace come easier if you're acullicando, as the descendants of the Tiwanaku empire of Bolivia and Peru call chewing coca.’
- ‘While they concede that some of the coca they produce is bought by drug traffickers, they show little remorse.’
- ‘Over these six months, the government will assess how much demand there is for legal uses of coca.’
- ‘In others, village growers simply find it more remunerative to sell coca to drug dealers than to market pineapples at the local mercado.’
Late 16th century: from Spanish, from Aymara kuka or Quechua koka.
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