an intoxicating beverage distilled from the fermented juice of certain species of agave.
any agave yielding this spirit.
Also called peyote. either of two species of spineless, dome-shaped cactus, Lophophora williamsii or L. diffusa, of Texas and northern Mexico, yielding the hallucinogen peyote.

1695–1705, Americanism; < Mexican Spanish mescal, mezcal, mexcal < Nahuatl mexcalli intoxicant distilled from agave (perhaps equivalent to me(tl) maguey + (i)xcalli something cooked) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mescal (mɛˈskæl)
1.  Also called: peyote a spineless globe-shaped cactus, Lophophora williamsii, of Mexico and the southwestern US. Its button-like tubercles (mescal buttons) contain mescaline and are chewed by certain Indian tribes for their hallucinogenic effects
2.  a colourless alcoholic spirit distilled from the fermented juice of certain agave plants
[C19: from American Spanish, from Nahuatl mexcalli the liquor, from metlmaguey + ixcalli stew]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1702, "plant of the genus Agave," found in deserts of Mexico and southwestern U.S., esp. the American aloe, or maguey plant, from Mex.Sp., from Nahuatl (Aztec) mexcalli "fermented drink made from agave," from metl "agave" + ixcalli "stew."Meaning "intoxicating liquor from fermented juice of the agave"
is attested from 1828. Also the name of a small desert cactus (peyote) found in northern Mexico and southern Texas.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
As he sat sipping mescal on the mountainside patio, he pondered on how he could put some humor into his writing.
But the place makes up for such lapses with a connoisseur's col- lection of mescal and tequila and a list of exquisite desserts.
The agave, or mescal formed the major staple in both their diet and culture.
Peyote is a drug derived from the buttons of the mescal cactus.
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