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raffia

[raf-ee-uh]
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noun
  1. a fiber obtained from the leaves of the raffia palm, used for tying plants and other objects and for making mats, baskets, hats, and the like.
Also raphia.

Origin of raffia

1880–85; earlier rofia raffia palm, said to be < Malagasy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for raffia

raffia

raphia

noun
  1. Also called: raffia palm a palm tree, Raphia ruffia, native to Madagascar, that has large plumelike leaves, the stalks of which yield a useful fibre
  2. the fibre obtained from this plant, used for tying, weaving, etc
  3. any of several related palms or the fibre obtained from them

Word Origin

C19: from Malagasy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for raffia

n.

fiber-yielding tree of Madagascar, 1729, rofia, from Malagasy rafia. Modern form is attested from 1882; also raphia (1866).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper