Definition of kinnikinnick in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌkinikiˈnik/
(also kinnikinnic or kinnikinnik)


1A smoking mixture used by North American Indians as a substitute for tobacco or for mixing with it, typically consisting of dried sumac leaves and the inner bark of willow or dogwood.
Example sentences
  • The air reeked with the smell of paint, turpentine, Bull Durham tobacco, and the aromatic Indian herb kinnikinnick.
  • The council is permitted to smoke sage, sweetgrass, and kinnikinnic.
  • The men also make up kinnikinnik, our herbal smoking mixture, from herbs that we gathered in the previous spring, summer and fall (uva ursi, mullein, sweet clover, sage and raspberry leaves).
1.1North American The bearberry, which was also sometimes used in kinnikinnick.
Example sentences
  • I have seen some kinnikinniks out in the wild that do have some pretty good trunks on them, but I have no idea how long it took to get that way.
  • Under our grove of old growth firs we planted 10 vine maples, 10 sword ferns, 5 evergreen huckleberries and 5 kinnikinniks.
  • Native Americans used both red-osier dogwood bark and leaves of the kinnikinnic (bearberry, Arcturus uva-ursi) as adulterants mixed with native tobacco - probably for the practical purpose of stretching their tobacco supply.


Late 18th century: from a Delaware (Unami) word meaning 'mixture'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: kin·ni·kin·nick

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