1. A deciduous eastern North American tree (Sassafras albidum) having irregularly lobed leaves and aromatic bark, leaves, and roots.
2. The dried root bark of this plant, used as a source of safrole and formerly as a flavoring.
[Spanish sasafrás, from Late Latin saxifragia, kind of herb, variant of (herba) saxifraga, saxifrage; see SAXIFRAGE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.