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[kin-i-kuh-nik] /ˌkɪn ɪ kəˈnɪk/
a mixture of bark, dried leaves, and sometimes tobacco, formerly smoked by the Indians and pioneers in the Ohio valley.
any of various plants used in this mixture, especially the common bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, of the heath family.
Also, kinnikinnic, kinnikinick, kinnikinic, kinnikinnik, killickinnic.
Origin of kinnikinnick
Unami Delaware
1790-1800; earlier killikinnick, etc., < Unami Delaware kələk˙əní˙k˙an literally, admixture, derivative of Proto-Algonquian *keleken- mix (it) with something different by hand Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kinnikinnick
Historical Examples
  • In the woods the berries of the kinnikinnick grew red, and on the 181 lawn the mountain ash trees stood clothed in holiday attire.

    Virginia of Elk Creek Valley

    Mary Ellen Chase
  • The search for kinnikinnick was not, however, her real reason for wishing to see Carver.

    Virginia of Elk Creek Valley

    Mary Ellen Chase
  • Afterward she found out that it was the kinnikinnick vine, and that the Indians used it to smoke in their pipes.

    Nelly's Silver Mine Helen Hunt Jackson
  • All one day Billy worked hard digging up young pine-trees, and Lucinda gathered a great quantity of kinnikinnick vines.

    Nelly's Silver Mine Helen Hunt Jackson
  • The girls tried to assume the airs of smokers, and puffed their kinnikinnick furiously.

    Rose of Dutcher's Coolly

    Hamlin Garland
  • Adam had risen early and decked every available spot with kinnikinnick until the room fairly glistened.

  • He packed a good supply of kippered salmon, and filled his pouch with kinnikinnick for smoking in his black stone pipe.

    In the Oregon Country George Palmer Putnam
  • The Indians filled their pipes with kinnikinnick, or willow bark, and smoked.

British Dictionary definitions for kinnikinnick


the dried leaves and bark of certain plants, sometimes with tobacco added, formerly smoked by some North American Indians
any of the plants used for such a preparation, such as the sumach Rhus glabra
Word Origin
C18: from Algonquian, literally: that which is mixed; related to Natick kinukkinuk mixture
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
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