Definition of kava in English:


Syllabification: ka·va
Pronunciation: /ˈkävə
(also kava-kava)


  • 1A narcotic sedative drink made in Polynesia from the crushed roots of a plant of the pepper family.
    More example sentences
    • In many cultures, men and occasionally women retire each evening to the nakamal to prepare and drink kava, an infusion of the pepper plant.
    • All chief ceremonies, however, regardless of village, culminate in the kava ceremony wherein the candidate drinks kava for the first time as the new chief.
    • Also, avoid combining kava with alcohol or sedatives.
  • 2The Polynesian shrub from which the kava root is obtained.
    • Piper methysticum, family Piperaceae
    More example sentences
    • The first version portrays him as parting the sea with a cycas leaf, the second adds soil enclosed in a wild kava leaf and a bamboo flute to the ritual paraphernalia of departure.
    • If you have mood disorders such as depression, currently take mood-altering medication or have Parkinson's disease, avoid the herb kava.
    • My neighbor says the herb kava is a natural way to calm nerves.


late 18th century: from Tongan.

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