rooibos

noun
roo·​i·​bos | \ˈrü-ē-ˌbäs, ˈrȯi-, -ˌbȯs\

Definition of rooibos 

1 : a small bush (Aspalathus linearis) of the legume family native to western South Africa that typically grows in nutrient-poor, sandy soils and has green, needlelike leaves and yellow flowers Rooibos is an erect or straggling, slender-stemmed heath-like bush …— Jacobus F. N. Smith et al.

2 or rooibos tea

a : the dried leaves and young stems of the rooibos bush used especially in making herbal tea

Note: When subjected to oxidation during processing, the leaves and stems of the rooibos bush turn reddish-brown. Rooibos tea may be referred to as red rooibos when exposed to significant oxidation or green rooibos when exposed to minimal oxidation.

b : an aromatic, slightly sweet, typically reddish-brown, herbal tea prepared from dried rooibos leaves and stems by steeping them in hot water We each stocked up on some loose leaf tea and ordered some drinks—a vanilla rooibos latte with coconut milk and kombucha on tap.— Allison Fong

Note: Rooibos tea is also known as red bush tea and red tea.

First Known Use of rooibos

1893, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rooibos

Dictionary Entries near rooibos

rooftop

rooftree

rooibok

rooibos

rooigras

rooinek

rooi rhebok

Statistics for rooibos

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rooibos

The first known use of rooibos was in 1893

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on rooibos

Nglish: Translation of rooibos for Spanish Speakers

Comments on rooibos

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

WORD OF THE DAY

by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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