Mescaline is a psychedelic drug that comes from the peyote cactus, which is indigenous to Central America. However, it's more than just the hallucinogen that comes from there- the word does too! Mescaline has actually been steeped in Native American cultures for almost 6,000 years, and, through an initial borrowing in German as mezcalin, its name derives from the mescal cactus (a kind of peyote). This in turn comes from the Nahuatl word mexcalli, which meant "agave stew", because mescaline was often ingested via that medium. Obviously the scientific suffix -ine, meaning a type of substance, was added later. Since the word mescaline was first coined in English in 1896, its usage steadily increased until the early 1970s, until it decreased almost three times, due to decreased availability as a result of higher federal regulation of the drug.
10/14/2020 12:48:55 pm
I was wondering, do you know your sources for this? I am writing a paper about the origins of drug names and I keep seeing that mescalines similarity to the the mezcal is a complete coincidence.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.