Definition of sassafras
1 : an eastern North American tree (Sassafras albidum) of the laurel family having both ovate and lobed aromatic leaves
2 : the carcinogenic dried root bark of the sassafras used formerly as a diaphoretic or flavoring agent
Recent Examples of sassafras from the Web
Made with sassafras, vanilla and cinnamon sticks, this creamy, lively soft drink comes with one free refill, for $4.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sassafras'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of sassafras
First Known Use: 1577
SASSAFRAS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of sassafras for English Language Learners
: 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
SASSAFRAS Defined for Kids
Definition of sassafras for Students
: a tall tree of eastern North America whose dried root bark was formerly used in medicine or as a flavoring
Medical Definition of sassafras
1: a tall eastern North American tree (Sassafras albidum) of the laurel family (Lauraceae) with mucilaginous twigs and leaves
2: 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
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