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[yoo-puh s] /ˈyu pəs/
the poisonous milky sap of a large tree, Antiaris toxicaria, of the mulberry family, native to tropical Asia, Africa, and the Philippine Islands, used for arrow poison.
the tree itself.
Origin of upas
1775-85; < Javanese: poison, especially dart poison Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for upas
Historical Examples
  • The darts used are about five inches long, and are dipped in upas juice.

    On the Equator Harry de Windt
  • The poison for these darts is obtained from the ipoh tree (upas).

    Children of Borneo Edwin Herbert Gomes
  • I knew I should die under the upas tree of his hateful presence!

    Her Mother's Secret Emma D. E. N. Southworth
  • This was the only specimen of the upas tree that I saw in Borneo.

  • But it was now far away, or at least no longer to be dreaded from the poison of the upas.

    The Castaways Captain Mayne Reid
  • The upas does not grow as a gregarious tree, and is nowhere found in numbers.

    The Castaways Captain Mayne Reid
  • In Africa you have the upas, the fierce compound of simoom and tornado.

    The Sea Jules Michelet
  • One writer has likened the whole modern system to the upas tree.

    Indian Home Rule M. K. Gandhi
  • On another street in this city is another branch from the upas tree.

    The Funny Side of Physic A. D. Crabtre
  • She emanated poison as nightshade emanates it, the upas tree.

    The Million Dollar Mystery Harold MacGrath
British Dictionary definitions for upas


a large moraceous tree of Java, Antiaria toxicaria, having whitish bark and poisonous milky sap
the sap of this tree, used as an arrow poison
Also antiar
Word Origin
C19: from Malay: poison
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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Word Origin and History for upas

legendary poisonous tree of Java, 1783, from Malay upas "poison," in pohun upas "poison tree." The story appears to have originated in Dutch in 1770s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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