sas·​sa·​fras | \ ˈsa-sə-ˌfras How to pronounce sassafras (audio) \

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

Examples of sassafras in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once inside the park, the tulip poplars, dogwoods, black cherry, sassafras and pawpaw trees are breathtaking. New York Times, "Leaf Peeping Is Not Canceled: 6 Drives and Hikes to Try This Fall," 1 Oct. 2020 The 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is full with aromas of black plum, raspberry, and forest floor, complemented by flavors of bing cherry and sassafras and hints of baking spice. Rachel King, Fortune, "There’s more than one way to ditch white (wine) after Labor Day," 5 Sep. 2020 The sassafras adds a grassy, slightly sour note, and the berries bring more color and tang. New York Times, "Sean Sherman’s 10 Essential Native American Recipes," 7 Nov. 2019 State Forester David Arnold says in a news release that sassafras and spicebush are important ecological species in Tennessee. USA TODAY, "Hershey beer, sassafras sickness, demolition mystery: News from around our 50 states," 3 Oct. 2019 Bay leaf and sassafras trees and plants are also on the bug’s nesting list. Willie James Inman, Fox News, "Beetle threatens Florida avocado industry," 13 July 2017 Sweetbay magnolia and sassafras trees have materialized. Jane Margolies, New York Times, "Rooftop Terrace at Brooklyn Children’s Museum Is Set to Open," 15 June 2017 Made with sassafras, vanilla and cinnamon sticks, this creamy, lively soft drink comes with one free refill, for $4. Carla Meyer,, "This Placer County barbecue spot is a (literally) hidden gem," 1 June 2017 Cow parsley was also called is crow’s foot, and sassafras is the tea that was said to thin blood. Kansascity,, "Think you know nature? Take the test," 27 Apr. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of sassafras

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sassafras

Spanish sasafrás

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Time Traveler for sassafras

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The first known use of sassafras was in 1577

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Cite this Entry

“Sassafras.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for sassafras



English Language Learners Definition of sassafras

: 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


sas·​sa·​fras | \ ˈsa-sə-ˌfras How to pronounce sassafras (audio) \

Kids Definition of sassafras

: a tall tree of eastern North America whose dried root bark was formerly used in medicine or as a flavoring


sas·​sa·​fras | \ ˈsas-ə-ˌfras How to pronounce sassafras (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on sassafras

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

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