[ kwosh-uh, -ee-uh ]
/ ˈkwɒʃ ə, -i ə /
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a shrub or small tree, Quassia amara, of tropical America, having pinnate leaves, showy red flowers, and wood with a bitter taste.Compare quassia family.
any of several other trees having bitter-tasting wood.
Also called bitterwood. Chemistry, Pharmacology. a prepared form of the heartwood of any of these trees, used as an insecticide and in medicine as a tonic to dispel intestinal worms.



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Origin of quassia

First recorded in 1775–80; from New Latin, named after Quassi, an 18th-century enslaved healer in the Dutch colony of Suriname who discovered its medicinal properties; see -ia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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British Dictionary definitions for quassia

/ (ˈkwɒʃə) /


any tree of the tropical American simaroubaceous genus Quassia, having bitter bark and wood
the bark and wood of Quassia amara and of a related tree, Picrasma excelsa, used in furniture making
a bitter compound extracted from this bark and wood, formerly used as a tonic and anthelmintic, now used in insecticides

Word Origin for quassia

C18: from New Latin, named after Graman Quassi, a slave who discovered (1730) the medicinal value of the root
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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