quassia(redirected from quassias)
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a. A tropical American shrub or small tree (Quassia amara) having bright scarlet flowers and yielding a fine-grained, yellowish-white wood.
b. The wood of this plant.
2. A bitter substance obtained from the wood of this plant or related plants in the family Simaroubaceae, used in medicine and formerly as an insecticide.
[New Latin, after Gramman Quassi ("Great Man" Kwasi), an 18th-century Guinean who, after being enslaved and transported to Suriname, became renowned as a healer, especially by prescribing quassia for fever, and whose success eventually allowed him to purchase his freedom.]
1. (Plants) any tree of the tropical American simaroubaceous genus Quassia, having bitter bark and wood
2. (Forestry) the bark and wood of Quassia amara and of a related tree, Picrasma excelsa, used in furniture making
3. (Pharmacology) a bitter compound extracted from this bark and wood, formerly used as a tonic and anthelmintic, now used in insecticides
[C18: from New Latin, named after Graman Quassi, a slave who discovered (1730) the medicinal value of the root]
quas•sia(ˈkwɒʃ ə, -i ə)
n., pl. -sias.
1. a shrub or small tree, Quassia amara, of tropical America, having pinnate leaves, showy red flowers, and wood with a bitter taste.
2. a prepared form of the wood of any of several trees of the genus Quassia, used as an insecticide or to dispel intestinal worms.
[1755–65; < New Latin, after Quassi, 18th-century slave in Dutch Guiana who discovered its medicinal properties]
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|Noun||1.||quassia - a bitter compound used as an insecticide and tonic and vermifuge; extracted from the wood and bark of trees of the genera Quassia and Picrasma|
Jamaica quassia - similar to the extract from Quassia amara
organic compound - any compound of carbon and another element or a radical
|2.||quassia - handsome South American shrub or small tree having bright scarlet flowers and yielding a valuable fine-grained yellowish wood; yields the bitter drug quassia from its wood and bark|
bitterwood tree - any of various trees or shrubs of the family Simaroubaceae having wood and bark with a bitter taste
genus Quassia - tropical trees and shrubs with pinnate leaves and large scarlet flowers; bark is medicinal