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  1. the spicy fruit or drupe of an East Indian climbing shrub, Piper cubeba, of the pepper family.

Origin of cubeb

1250–1300; < Medieval Latin cubēba < Arabic kubābah (classical Arabic kabābah); replacing Middle English cucube, quibibe < Anglo-French, Middle French < Medieval Latin, as above
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cubeb

Historical Examples

  • There was a strange medicinal odor—as of cubeb cigarettes—in the air.

    The Damnation of Theron Ware

    Harold Frederic

  • The cubeb is cultivated in Java and Sumatra, the fruits are gathered before they are ripe, and carefully dried.

  • At the beginning of the nineteenth century cubeb disappeared almost entirely from medical practice.

  • In the thirteenth century cubeb is mentioned among the import articles of London.

British Dictionary definitions for cubeb


  1. a SE Asian treelike piperaceous woody climbing plant, Piper cubeba, with brownish berries
  2. the unripe spicy fruit of this plant, dried and used as a stimulant and diuretic and sometimes smoked in cigarettes

Word Origin

C14: from Old French cubebe, from Medieval Latin cubēba, from Arabic kubābah
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012