Meaning of ayahuasca in English:


Pronunciation /ˌʌɪəˈwaskə/


  • 1A tropical vine of the Amazon region, noted for its hallucinogenic properties.

    Genus Banisteriopsis, family Malpighiaceae: several species

    ‘In South America the sacred use of the psychedelic ayahuasca has moved from the native populations of the Amazon Basin into the urban centers where it is the central sacrament in their religious praxis.’
    • ‘This is quite apparent if you look at the indigenous peoples in the Amazon basin in South America, where the plant ayahuasca is used for religious, spiritual and healing purposes.’
    • ‘But the ayahuasca case, says CIEL's Wiser, ‘has taken on a very significant importance’ in drawing attention to the practice of patenting nature.’
    • ‘I had an ayahuasca preparation that was an incredibly powerful experience and lasted a good 10 hours.’
    1. 1.1mass noun A hallucinogenic drink prepared from the bark of ayahuasca.
      ‘he took ayahuasca with a shaman in the Amazon’
      • ‘After all, Coleridge had not drunk ayahuasca, he had taken tincture of opium.’
      • ‘In 1999, customs agents intercepted a shipment of ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic tea brewed from plants that grow in the Amazon, en route to the American headquarters of UDV in New Mexico.’
      • ‘An archaic world of rainforest dwellers, where shamans consume a legendary hallucinogenic brew called ayahuasca, literally meaning ‘Vine of the Dead’, to communicate with spirits.’
      • ‘Lacking a pub, Amazon Indians prefer ayahuasca, the shaman's version of home-brew acid.’
      • ‘Ingesting the ayahuasca and huambisa tea causes intense hallucinations as well as vomiting and diarrhea, said to be a means of spiritual purification.’
      • ‘And they could also be shared in settings for congregational worship, as the Native American Church uses peyote and the Santo Daime and Uniao de Vegetal churches in Brazil use ayahuasca.’


From South American Spanish, from Quechua ayawáskha, from aya ‘corpse’ + waskha ‘rope’.