- a small E North American tree (Sassafras albidum) of the laurel family, having an aromatic bark, leaves with usually two or three fingerlike lobes, and small, bluish fruits
- the dried root bark of this tree, used as a flavoring agent and yielding safrole
Origin of sassafrasSpanish sasafrás from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
- A deciduous eastern North American tree (Sassafras albidum) having irregularly lobed leaves and aromatic bark, leaves, and roots.
- The dried root bark of this plant, used as a source of safrole and formerly as a flavoring.
Origin of sassafrasSpanish sasafrás from Late Latin saxifragia kind of herb variant of (herba) saxifraga saxifrage ; see saxifrage .
(countable and uncountable, plural sassafrases)
- (countable) A tree of species Sassafras albidum of the eastern United States and Asia having mitten-shaped leaves and red, aromatic heartwood.
- (countable) A tree of any species in the genus Sassafras.
- (uncountable) The bark of the root of this plant, used for medicinal and (mostly historically) culinary purposes and formerly a main ingredient in root beer.