Definition of ayahuasca in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌīəˈwäskə/


1A tropical vine native to the Amazon region, noted for its hallucinogenic properties.
  • Genus Banisteriopsis, family Malpighiaceae: several species, in particular B. caapi.
Example sentences
  • In South America the sacred use of the psychedelic ayahuasca has moved from the native populations of the Amazon Basin into the urban centers where it is the central sacrament in their religious praxis.
  • This is quite apparent if you look at the indigenous peoples in the Amazon basin in South America, where the plant ayahuasca is used for religious, spiritual and healing purposes.
  • But the ayahuasca case, says CIEL's Wiser, ‘has taken on a very significant importance’ in drawing attention to the practice of patenting nature.
1.1A hallucinogenic drink prepared from the bark of this.
Example sentences
  • After all, Coleridge had not drunk ayahuasca, he had taken tincture of opium.
  • In 1999, customs agents intercepted a shipment of ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic tea brewed from plants that grow in the Amazon, en route to the American headquarters of UDV in New Mexico.
  • An archaic world of rainforest dwellers, where shamans consume a legendary hallucinogenic brew called ayahuasca, literally meaning ‘Vine of the Dead’, to communicate with spirits.


1940s: from South American Spanish, from Quechua ayawáskha, from aya 'corpse' + waskha 'rope'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: a·ya·huas·ca

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