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[sahy-suh l, sis-uh l] /ˈsaɪ səl, ˈsɪs əl/
Also called sisal hemp. a fiber yielded by an agave, Agave sisalana, of Yucatán, used for making rope, rugs, etc.
the plant itself.
Origin of sisal
1835-45; short for Sisal grass or hemp, named after Sisal, port in Yucatán Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sisal
Historical Examples
  • The fiber is larger, not so stiff, but stronger than sisal hemp.


    William H. Dooley
  • It is rumored that from the state of sisal and henequen he will pick his running-mate.

    Diplomatic Days Edith O'Shaughnessy
  • The exportation of sisal plants was prohibited by the German Government.

  • The principal port, Progreso, is an open roadstead where no shelter is obtained, the old abandoned port of sisal being superior.

    Mexico Charles Reginald Enock
  • sisal is a sort of small oxen striped like a zebra and spotted like a leopard.'

  • Pineapple culture is already a flourishing industry in the sisal hemp region.

  • The essential feature in the economic production of sisal hemp is machinery for separating the fibre from the pulp of the leaf.

    Commercial Geography

    Jacques W. Redway
  • In one corner were a lot of tanned sharkskins individually rolled and bound securely with sisal cords.

    Fighting Byng

    A. Stone
  • He is in charge of the raw materials—the coal and iron and lumber and sisal and flax.

    The Romance of the Reaper

    Herbert Newton Casson
  • sisal hemp, which I found much like our yucca or "bear grass," is but little grown.

British Dictionary definitions for sisal


a Mexican agave plant, Agave sisalana, cultivated for its large fleshy leaves, which yield a stiff fibre used for making rope
the fibre of this plant
any of the fibres of certain similar or related plants
Also called sisal hemp
Word Origin
C19: from Mexican Spanish, named after Sisal, a port in Yucatán, Mexico
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
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Word Origin and History for sisal

1883, short for Sisal hemp or grass (1843), from Sisal, port in Yucatan, from which the rope-making fiber was exported.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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