sar·​sa·​pa·​ril·​la ˌsa-spə-ˈri-lə How to pronounce sarsaparilla (audio)
: any of various tropical American greenbriers
: the dried roots of a sarsaparilla used especially as a flavoring
: any of various plants (such as wild sarsaparilla) that resemble or are used as a substitute for sarsaparilla
: a sweetened carbonated beverage flavored with sassafras and oil distilled from a European birch

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The sarsaparilla flavor in root beer lends the meat a woodsy mintiness, which sings when it’s paired with aromatics like bay leaves and shallots. New York Times, 8 Dec. 2021 Active ingredients: Horny goat weed, tribulus fruit, organic oats milky seed extract, sarsaparilla root, organic maca root, fo-ti root, tongkat ali root, and saw palmetto Enjoy a natural boost of stamina and vitality with Gaia Herbs Male Libido. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 21 Dec. 2022 Up until now, this new American dry gin (made with botanicals including French lavender, anise seed and sarsaparilla) has been produced at House Spirits Distillery in Portland, which sold the gin to Davos Brands in 2016. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 23 Sep. 2022 The parade had a festive air devoid of politics, one of an old-fashioned America where political differences could be resolved over an ice-cold glass of sarsaparilla down at the drugstore. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 3 Aug. 2022 Honest John makes a box of 10 sample vials, including basics like orange, grapefruit, lavender, lemongrass/cardamom, coffee/cherry, sarsaparilla, and black walnut. The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 June 2022 The Bright-Eyed blend incorporates cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, sarsaparilla and black peppercorn. Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2022 The finish comes on in a wave that includes spice, sarsaparilla, and black cherries, all of it turning a bit darker and more savory while still remaining juicy and giving. Brian Freedman, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 Think boysenberry jam accented with rosemary, wild sage and sarsaparilla. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 See More

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

Word History


Spanish zarzaparrilla, from zarza bush + parrilla, diminutive of parra vine

First Known Use

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of sarsaparilla was in 1577

Dictionary Entries Near sarsaparilla

Cite this Entry

“Sarsaparilla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


sar·​sa·​pa·​ril·​la ˌsas-(ə-)pə-ˈril-ə How to pronounce sarsaparilla (audio)
: the dried roots of any of several tropical American woody plants used especially as a flavoring
also : a plant that produces sarsaparilla
: a sweetened carbonated beverage flavored with sassafras and an oil from a birch

Medical Definition


sar·​sa·​pa·​ril·​la ˌsas-(ə-)pə-ˈril-ə How to pronounce sarsaparilla (audio) ˌsärs- How to pronounce sarsaparilla (audio)
: any of various tropical American plants of the genus Smilax
: any of various plants (as wild sarsaparilla, Aralia nudicaulis) that resemble or are used as a substitute for the sarsaparillas
: the dried roots of any of several sarsaparillas of the genus Smilax (especially S. aristolochiaefolia, S. febrifuga, and S. regelii) used now especially as a flavoring and formerly for the diaphoretic, expectorant, and laxative effects of the saponins found in them and without curative effect in the treatment of syphilis
: the roots of wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) used similarly

More from Merriam-Webster on sarsaparilla

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