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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sisal
Historical Examples
  • The exportation of sisal plants was prohibited by the German Government.

  • The fiber is larger, not so stiff, but stronger than sisal hemp.

    Textiles William H. Dooley
  • The development of the self-binding reaper on our western grain-fields has opened a gold mine for sisal cordage.

  • 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
  • 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 is a sort of small oxen striped like a zebra and spotted like a leopard.'

  • And Yucatan is the only spot in the world where sisal can be grown in commercial quantities.

    The Romance of the Reaper Herbert Newton Casson
  • Pineapple culture is already a flourishing industry in the sisal hemp region.

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

  • 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
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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