1mass noun A Pacific Islands drink made from the crushed roots of a plant of the pepper family, having a mildly intoxicating or sedative effect.‘In many cultures, men and occasionally women retire each evening to the nakamal to prepare and drink kava, an infusion of the pepper plant.’
- ‘All chief ceremonies, however, regardless of village, culminate in the kava ceremony wherein the candidate drinks kava for the first time as the new chief.’
- ‘Also, avoid combining kava with alcohol or sedatives.’
- ‘In Polynesia, kava is considered the ‘drink of the gods.’’
- ‘They create beautiful spears, clubs, ceremonial bowls for kava drinking, and elaborately decorated seagoing canoes.’
2The shrub from which the kava root is obtained, grown in the Pacific Islands.
Piper methysticum, family Piperaceae‘The first version portrays him as parting the sea with a cycas leaf, the second adds soil enclosed in a wild kava leaf and a bamboo flute to the ritual paraphernalia of departure.’
- ‘If you have mood disorders such as depression, currently take mood-altering medication or have Parkinson's disease, avoid the herb kava.’
- ‘My neighbor says the herb kava is a natural way to calm nerves.’
- ‘Visitors are invited to partake in a yaqona - a welcoming ceremony with a drink brewed from kava root, served in an ironwood bowl, and sipped from a coconut-shell dish.’
- ‘Conversely, Hawaiians were traditionally the biggest gamblers of Polynesia - going so far as to wager their own lives in surfing competitions - and they made fermented drinks of kava roots.’
- ‘There are no roads or cars - just tidy grassy areas where people dry the narcotic kava root in the sun.’
Late 18th century from Tongan.