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A tropical African tree (Erythrophleum suaveolens) in the pea family, having bark that yields a poison and wood that is used for construction. Also called sassy.
[Alteration of earlier sassywood : sassy, sasswood, as in sassy bark, sasswood barkof West African origin; akin to Twi `ɔ-sésé, plane tree, Ewe séséwú, timber tree, and Ga (Niger-Congo language of Ghana) sèsè, kind of tree) + wood.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.