• synonyms


or cow·hage, cow·itch

  1. a tropical vine, Mucuna pruriens, of the legume family, bearing reddish or blackish pods.
  2. the pod itself, covered with bristlelike hairs that are irritating to the skin and cause intense itching.
  3. the hairs of the cowage mixed with a liquid vehicle and used to expel intestinal worms.
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Origin of cowage

1630–40; < Hindi kãũch, kēvā̃c (compare kavac any husk or pod), reshaped in E by folk etymology
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cowage

Historical Examples

  • Its houses roofless, their walls crumbled, are scarcely seen beneath the thick green carpet of convolvulus, and cowage (mecuna).

    The Mayas, the Sources of Their History / Dr. Le Plongeon in Yucatan, His Account of Discoveries

    Stephen Salisbury, Jr.

British Dictionary definitions for cowage



  1. a tropical climbing leguminous plant, Stizolobium (or Mucuna) pruriens, whose bristly pods cause severe itching and stinging
  2. the pods of this plant or the stinging hairs covering them
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Word Origin

C17: from Hindi kavāch, of obscure origin
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