1. a Polynesian shrub, Piper methysticum, of the pepper family, the aromatic roots of which are used to make an intoxicating beverage.
  2. the beverage made from these roots.

Origin of kava

1810–20; < Polynesian (first recorded from Tonga Islands)
Also called ka·va·ka·va, ka·va-ka·va.
Related formsKa·va·ic [kuh-vey-ik] /kəˈveɪ ɪk/, adjective
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Examples from the Web for kava

Contemporary Examples of kava

  • In a similar vein, kava kava, advertised as a natural anti-anxiety supplement, was taken off the market for causing liver failure.

Historical Examples of kava

British Dictionary definitions for kava


  1. a Polynesian shrub, Piper methysticum: family Piperaceae
  2. a drink prepared from the aromatic roots of this shrub

Word Origin for kava

C18: from Polynesian (Tongan): bitter
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