One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A section or length of the stem of a rotan plant used for binding, etc.; a cane or stem of rotan, used as an instrument of punishment.
2The flexible stems of the rotan plant collectively, frequently used as a material for making baskets, furniture, etc.
3A rattan palm.
Early 17th century. From Malay rotan, apparently a variant of rautan from raut to pare, trim, strip. Compare Portuguese rota, Spanish rota, French rotang, and Dutch rotan.
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