[ kah-vuh ]

  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, kava-kava.

Other words from kava

  • Ka·va·ic [kuh-vey-ik], /kəˈveɪ ɪk/, adjective

Words Nearby kava

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use kava in a sentence

  • They were making kava (or ava or yangana), the native drink.

    The Pacific Triangle | Sydney Greenbie
  • When preparing for war a piece of green kava was bound on either side of the spear-point to strike the enemy with blindness.

    Savage Island | Basil C. Thomson

British Dictionary definitions for kava


/ (ˈkɑːvə) /

  1. a Polynesian shrub, Piper methysticum: family Piperaceae

  2. a drink prepared from the aromatic roots of this shrub

Origin of 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