• synonyms


or cam·as

[kam-uh s]
  1. any of several plants of the genus Camassia, of the lily family, especially C. quamash, of western North America, having long clusters of blue to white flowers and edible bulbs.
  2. death camass.
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Origin of camass

1795–1805, Americanism; < Chinook Jargon qamaš, qawaš < Nootka qawaš-, qawi- salmonberry, any berry or small fruit
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for camass

Historical Examples of camass

  • Camass, ka-mas′, n. a small plant growing in the north-western United States, also its nutritious bulb.

    Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 1 of 4: A-D)


  • For "quamash" read "camass," an edible root much prized by the Nez Perces then and now.

  • Both the pion and the camass are largely utilized even at the present day for food by the Indians.

    North America

    Israel C. Russell

British Dictionary definitions for camass



  1. Also called: quamash any of several North American plants of the liliaceous genus Camassia, esp C. quamash, which has a cluster of blue or white flowers and a sweet edible bulb
  2. death camass any liliaceous plant of the genus Zygadenus (or Zigadenus), of the western US, that is poisonous to livestock, esp sheep
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Word Origin for camass

C19: from Chinook Jargon kamass, from Nootka chamas sweet
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