- a shrub or small tree, Quassia amara, of tropical America, having pinnate leaves, showy red flowers, and wood with a bitter taste.Compare quassia family.
- any of several other trees having bitter-tasting wood.
- Also called bitterwood. Chemistry, Pharmacology. a prepared form of the heartwood of any of these trees, used as an insecticide and in medicine as a tonic to dispel intestinal worms.
Origin of quassia
1755–65; < New Latin, named after Quassi, 18th-century slave in Dutch Guiana who discovered its medicinal properties; see -ia
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Examples from the Web for quassia
Steam this slowly for an hour, then add thirty drops Quassia.One Thousand Secrets of Wise and Rich Men Revealed
C. A. Bogardus
Now, a little shower of quassia, just to freshen you up; eh?Fernley House
Laura E. Richards
One third of a pint of quassia to which add a tablespoonful of rocksalt.Ulysses
The lupulin sold to brewers is largely adulterated with quassia.Cooley's Practical Receipts, Volume II
Quassia is the name of a tree which grows in America and the West Indies.The Seven Curses of London
- any tree of the tropical American simaroubaceous genus Quassia, having bitter bark and wood
- the bark and wood of Quassia amara and of a related tree, Picrasma excelsa, used in furniture making
- a bitter compound extracted from this bark and wood, formerly used as a tonic and anthelmintic, now used in insecticides
C18: from New Latin, named after Graman Quassi, a slave who discovered (1730) the medicinal value of the root
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