- any of various climbing or trailing tropical American plants belonging to the genus Smilax, of the lily family, having alternate leaves, umbels of flowers, and a root that has been used in the treatment of psoriasis.
- the root.
- an extract or other preparation made of this root.
- a soft drink flavored with an extract of this root, as root beer.
Origin of sarsaparilla
Examples from the Web for sarsaparilla
And then she herself becomes a sarsaparilla vine, the reasons of which are unclear.In Search of the $10,000 Spice
July 14, 2009
You could get that sarsaparilla across the bar at the Bird Cage, couldn't you, Jumbo?Oh, You Tex!
William Macleod Raine
But—Dominick was alone, his eternal glass of sarsaparilla before him.The Plum Tree
David Graham Phillips
A course of sarsaparilla is also in most cases advantageous.
The trade is chiefly in Brazil nuts, sarsaparilla, and fish.
"I apologize," said Snorky hastily, and he brought out a bottle of sarsaparilla.Skippy Bedelle
- any of various prickly climbing plants of the tropical American genus Smilax having large aromatic roots and heart-shaped leaves: family Smilacaceae
- the dried roots of any of these plants, formerly used as a medicine
- a nonalcoholic drink prepared from these roots
- any of various plants resembling true sarsaparilla, esp the araliaceous plant Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla), of North America
Word Origin and History for sarsaparilla
tropical American plant, 1570s, from Spanish zarzaparrilla, from zarza "bramble" (from Arabic sharas "thorny plant" or Basque sartzia "bramble") + parrilla, diminutive of parra "vine," which is of unknown origin. Hence, also, "a medicinal preparation of sarsaparilla" (1570s). In 16c.-17c. the dried roots were held to be efficient in treatment of syphilis.