July 15, 2012
sassafras (noun)
\SASS-uh-frass\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a tall eastern North American tree that is related to the laurels and has fragrant yellow flowers and bluish black berries; also : its dried root bark used formerly in medicine or as a flavoring
How do you use it?
"I found some sassafras trees at the edge of the road one day, dug up a good supply of roots, peeled and dried them. Sassafras tea is about as good as anything you want to drink." (Jean Craighead George, My Side of the Mountain)
Are you a word wiz?

"Sassafras" has been part of the English language since the late 1500s. Which language do you think gave us "sassafras"?

If you picked C, Spanish, muy bueno! The word "sassafras" became part of English at a time when many words from Spanish began to make their way into the language. In fact, since 1500, hundreds of words from Spanish have become English words that we still use. Many of these words name things that are found in nature, like sassafras. Here are just a few of the more common words that have come into English from Spanish: "anchovy," "chinchilla," "cocoa," "flamingo," "garbanzo," "mosquito," "breeze," "alligator," and "armadillo."
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