noun \ˈsa-sə-ˌfras\

: a tall tree of eastern North America

: the dried bark from the root of the sassafras that is used in medicine and as a flavoring

Full Definition of SASSAFRAS

:  an eastern North American tree (Sassafras albidum) of the laurel family having both ovate and lobed aromatic leaves
:  the carcinogenic dried root bark of the sassafras used formerly as a diaphoretic or flavoring agent


Spanish sasafrás
First Known Use: 1577


noun \ˈsas-ə-ˌfras\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of SASSAFRAS

: a tall eastern North American tree (Sassafras albidum) of the laurel family (Lauraceae) with mucilaginous twigs and leaves
: the dried root bark of the sassafras formerly used as a diaphoretic and flavoring agent but now prohibited for use as a flavoring or food additive because of its carcinogenic properties


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

North American tree (Sassafras albidum) of the laurel family. The aromatic leaf, bark, and root are used as a flavouring, as a traditional home medicine, and as a tea. The aromatic roots yield about 2% oil of sassafras, once the characteristic ingredient of root beer. The tree is native to sandy soils from Maine to Ontario and Iowa and south to Florida and Texas. It is usually small but may attain a height of 65 ft (20 m) or more. It has furrowed bark, bright green twigs, small clusters of yellow flowers followed by dark blue berries, and three distinctive forms of leaves, often on the same twig: three-lobed, two-lobed (mitten-shaped), and entire.


Next Word in the Dictionary: sassafras laurel
Previous Word in the Dictionary: sassafac
All Words Near: sassafras

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up sassafras? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More