Definition of betel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbēdl/


1The leaf of an Asian evergreen climbing plant that is used in the East as a mild stimulant. Parings of areca nut, lime, and cinnamon are wrapped in the leaf, which is then chewed, causing the saliva to go red and, with prolonged use, the teeth to go black.
Example sentences
  • Smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, and having a poor diet are important risk factors in the West, and chewing betel or areca nuts, smoking bidis, and taking snuff are important in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Chewing the areca nut or betel leaf - this is a common practice among certain cultural groups such as those with Bangledeshi heritage.
  • It is a treat to watch a veteran betel chewer go about the serious business of betel chewing.
2The plant, related to pepper, from which the betel leaves are taken.
  • Piper betle, family Piperaceae.
Example sentences
  • These offerings include a goat, two cups and one box of cooked rice, a tray of ground rice cakes, five cups of sticky rice, lemon juice, and ten pieces of betel (a pepper plant).
  • People in the more accessible Central Mekeo rapidly found themselves in the enviable position of being the sole providers of large quantities of high quality betel pepper and areca nut.
  • The bunches of unripe berries picked from this parasitical climber of betel, palm and mango trees are dried in the sun to become peppercorn, the spice that was valued above all others.


Mid 16th century: via Portuguese from Malayalam veṛṛila.

Words that rhyme with betel

beetle, chital, decretal, fetal

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: be·tel

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