Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A tropical American shrub or small tree (Quassia amara) having bright scarlet flowers and yielding a valuable, lustrous, fine-grained, yellowish-white wood.
  • n. The wood of this plant.
  • n. A bitter substance obtained from the wood of this plant, used in medicine and as an insecticide.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several tropic trees, of the genus Quassia, having scarlet flowers
  • n. The bitter substance quassin extracted from its bark

Etymologies

New Latin, after Graman Quassi, an 18th-century Surinamese.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • A slightly splenetic man, possessed of Scott’s sense, would have swept his premises clear of them: Let no blue bottle approach here, to disturb a man in his work, —under pain of sugared squash (called quassia) and king’s yellow!

    Paras. 50-73

  • By the simple process of spraying the plant three or four times a day, until it is out of the seed-leaf, and the danger is over, it is possible in the garden to wash out the = Haltica =; and any kind of insecticide or flavouring, such as quassia, may be mingled with the water to render the plants distasteful to the insects.

    The Culture of Vegetables and Flowers From Seeds and Roots 16th Edition

  • One third of a pint of quassia to which add a tablespoonful of rocksalt.

    Ulysses

  • She ripped open a plastic bag and grabbed the quassia chips.

    Night World No. 1

  • Now add quassia chips, blessed thistle, mandrake root.

    Night World No. 1

  • When the quinine ran out they gave Sharpe quassia bark instead, but still the fever raged, and even the Navy's remedy, suggested by Lord Spears, which consisted of gunpowder mixed with brandy, did not work.

    Sharpe's Sword

  • Worms located in the posterior bowel may be removed by rectal injections of a weak water infusion of quassia chips.

    Common Diseases of Farm Animals

  • Take of gentian 4 oz., orange peel 4 oz., columbo 4 oz., chamomile flowers 4 oz., quassia 4 oz., burned sugar 1 lb., whiskey 2-1/2 galls., water 2-1/2 galls,; mix and let stand one week, then bottle the clear liquor.

    Young's Demonstrative Translation of Scientific Secrets

  • The bark was taken in infusions and decoctions with quassia, and the effects were sometimes very decided and satisfactory, forming a providential substitute for the only kind of bark then to be procured in Ireland.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 284, November 24, 1827

  • A certain quantity of quassia might be distributed gratis at Apothecaries 'Hall, as vaccinatory matter is at the Cow-pox Hospital, with very considerable effect; and an act of parliament should be passed without delay, declaring the wilful destruction of a spider to be felony.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 12, No. 346, December 13, 1828

Comments

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  • My father's aunt Hester ("Hessie" to the family) was this enormous mountain of a woman, waves of flesh would billow as she waddled. There was always a certain amount of nervousness, bordering on hysteria, among the smallest kids when she would go to sit down - she might squassia without ever realizing you were there, until late in the evening they would scrape your two-dimensional carcase off the couch.

    January 7, 2009

  • She kissed as though determined to be lost: a touch as bitter as quassia.

    - Aidan Higgins, In Old Heidelberg

    January 7, 2009

  • A shrub or small tree of tropical America with showy red flowers; also called bitterwood. "Quassia" also describes the substance obtained from the heartwood of the tree that's used as an insecticide or as a tonic for intestinal worms.

    September 14, 2007