pey·​o·​te | \ pā-ˈō-tē How to pronounce peyote (audio) \
variants: or less commonly peyotl \ pā-​ˈō-​tᵊl How to pronounce peyote (audio) \

Definition of peyote

1 : a hallucinogenic drug containing mescaline that is derived from the dried discoid tops of a cactus (Lophophora williamsii) and is used especially in the religious ceremonies of some American Indian peoples — see peyote button
2 : a small, low, spineless cactus (Lophophora williamsii) of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico with rounded stems having jointed tubercles with tufts of usually woolly hairs

called also mescal

Illustration of peyote

Illustration of peyote

peyote 2

Examples of peyote in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Apache, Huichol, Utes, Comanche, and Navajo peoples are among the current heirs of peyote’s ancient discoverers and stewards of its spiritual and medicinal uses. Louis Metzger Iv, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Unlike other psychedelics such as peyote or ayahuasca, which are grounded in centuries of traditions involving Indigenous peoples, Bufo’s usage is thought to be more recent. New York Times, 20 Mar. 2022 The usual suspects: caffeine, pot, heroin, cocaine, peyote, LSD, psilocybin. Bob Odenkirk, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 Mexico is home to numerous shamanic rituals involving psychoactive substances, such as psilocybin and peyote; farther south, communities in the Amazon have been brewing ayahuasca for centuries. The New Yorker, 21 Mar. 2022 Lophophora williamsii—peyote—which contain the oldest psychedelic medicine known to man. Jesse Will, Outside Online, 15 Mar. 2022 Gagliano participates in a peyote ceremony in which the villagers chant before a fire. Peter Keough,, 6 Jan. 2022 The 1993 law was Congress' reaction to a 1990 Supreme Court ruling that Native Americans did not have a constitutional right to take the hallucinogenic drug, peyote. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 11 Nov. 2021 In the 1960s, countercultural movements adopted Native American dress and customs like peyote as markers of pre-industrial, pre-urbane simplicity. Jennifer Wilson, Vulture, 10 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peyote.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of peyote

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for peyote

Mexican Spanish peyote, from Nahuatl peyotl peyote cactus

Learn More About peyote

Dictionary Entries Near peyote

Peyerian gland


peyote button

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for peyote

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Peyote.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for peyote


pey·​o·​te | \ pā-ˈōt-ē How to pronounce peyote (audio) \
variants: also peyotl \ -​ˈōt-​ᵊl How to pronounce peyote (audio) \

Medical Definition of peyote

1 : a hallucinogenic drug containing mescaline that is derived from peyote buttons and used especially in the religious ceremonies of some American Indian peoples
2 : a small spineless cactus of the genus Lophophora (L. williamsii) of the southwestern United States and Mexico having rounded stems covered with jointed tubercules

called also mescal

More from Merriam-Webster on peyote Encyclopedia article about peyote


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!