sar·​sa·​pa·​ril·​la | \ ˌsa-spə-ˈri-lə How to pronounce sarsaparilla (audio) , ˌsär-, -ˈre-; ˌsa-sə-pə-, ˌsär-sə-pə- \

Definition of sarsaparilla

1a : any of various tropical American greenbriers
b : the dried roots of a sarsaparilla used especially as a flavoring
2 : any of various plants (such as wild sarsaparilla) that resemble or are used as a substitute for sarsaparilla
3 : a sweetened carbonated beverage flavored with sassafras and oil distilled from a European birch

Examples of sarsaparilla in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Paul Gasford got lost hunting for sarsaparilla on the shore of Lake Ontario in 1805. Jon T. Coleman, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ten Curious Cases of Getting Lost in the Wilderness," 12 Aug. 2020 The Root of All Beers, please, which mixes a licorice-and-sarsaparilla witch’s brew with rye, vermouth, and honey. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, "In Cobble Hill, the HiHi Room Stands Alone," 10 Jan. 2020 Shane’ when Alan Ladd stepped up to the bar and ordered a sarsaparilla, and what happened next. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: ‘You thirsty, Pops? What’ll you have?’," 13 Oct. 2019 Vivic sells sparkling coffee with a touch of licorice, or lavender, or sarsaparilla, a flavor that’s akin to root beer. Maura Judkis, Washington Post, "Canned coffee is suddenly a lot more interesting, with funky flavors and many more bubbles," 27 June 2019 Oregon, $15 Here’s an all-around tasty Oregon pinot noir, with Bing cherry and sarsaparilla flavors. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "Floral and lush, this $12 South African white wine blend blossoms in your glass," 14 June 2019 That must have been sarsaparilla in those to-go cups on my recent crawl. Anne Burke, San Francisco Chronicle, "Five wackiest ways to get around Las Vegas," 2 May 2018 Gold Rush Days has historically incorporated nuggets of life in the 1850s such as homemade sarsaparilla, gold panning and buying products from blacksmiths' shops, as well as modern amenities such as a pub crawl. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Gold Rush Days canceled in 2018. When will it return? | The Sacramento Bee," 1 Mar. 2018 The gin is a balanced blend of botanicals—including cardamom, coriander, French lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, juniper, and two kinds of orange peel—with a more subtle juniper flavor. Sarah Rense, Esquire, "Ryan Reynolds Is Now Part Owner of Aviation Gin. Here's What You Should Know About the Brand.," 21 Feb. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of sarsaparilla

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sarsaparilla

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

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The first known use of sarsaparilla was in 1577

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Cite this Entry

“Sarsaparilla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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How to pronounce sarsaparilla (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sarsaparilla

old-fashioned : a sweetened drink that is flavored with a substance made from the root of a plant


sar·​sa·​pa·​ril·​la | \ ˌsa-spə-ˈri-lə How to pronounce sarsaparilla (audio) , ˌsär- \

Kids Definition of sarsaparilla

: a sweetened carbonated beverage that tastes somewhat like root beer


sar·​sa·​pa·​ril·​la | \ ˌsas-(ə-)pə-ˈril-ə How to pronounce sarsaparilla (audio) , ˌsärs- How to pronounce sarsaparilla (audio) , -ˈrel- \

Medical Definition of sarsaparilla

1a : any of various tropical American plants of the genus Smilax
b : any of various plants (as wild sarsaparilla, Aralia nudicaulis) that resemble or are used as a substitute for the sarsaparillas
2a : 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
b : the roots of wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) used similarly

More from Merriam-Webster on sarsaparilla

Nglish: Translation of sarsaparilla for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sarsaparilla

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