Definition of sago in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Edible starch which is obtained from a palm and is a staple food in parts of the tropics. The pith inside the trunk is scraped out, washed, and dried to produce a flour or processed to produce the granular sago used in the West.

    • ‘Women lamented the time devoted to journeys further and further into the sago swamp to process sago as whole tracts of palms were unusable.’
    • ‘Rice could be bought at 2d a pound and sago and sugar at 3d a pound.’
    • ‘Women are primarily responsible for the production and preparation of sago, from cutting down the palm, to cooking and preparing the sago flour for eating.’
    • ‘Gardens, sago swamps in which women process the sago from the palm and the bush in which men hunt are often located at a considerable distance from the village and access to them entails much travel and effort.’
    • ‘Here the staple foods are fish and sago; no pigs are kept, though wild ones - and cassowaries - may be hunted.’
    • ‘It is a large family, belonging to the tropics and subtropics, and many of its members furnish important foodstuffs: the coconut, date, sago, palm sugar, etc.’
    • ‘Pulp harvested from sago produces a high-fiber, low-fat starch similar in texture, nutritional benefit, and use to whole-wheat flour.’
    • ‘And they are eating these sorts of wild crops, or non-traditional food crops such as sago.’
    • ‘Some alternatives which produce results similar to gelatin are agar-agar, carrageenan, tapioca, sago, guar gum, pectin, and rennet.’
    • ‘Although these essays are concerned with others crops too, only Ellen's contribution is really focused on another staple food, sago.’
    • ‘Using a small spoon, sprinkle the surface with sago flour.’
    • ‘Flour allows us to mix many kinds of food sources together, such as cassava, sago, taro, yam, etc.’
    • ‘They danced inside and underneath the enormous longhouses, concluding the celebrations with the consumption of large amounts of prepared foods, including sago and yams.’
    • ‘Other produce includes coal, coconuts, sugar cane, pineapples, tobacco, vegetables, sago, tapioca, coffee, tea, maize, and groundnuts.’
    • ‘Corn, cassava, taro, sago, soybeans, peanuts, and coconuts are also widely grown.’
    • ‘To every 500 ml add two tablespoons of sago (sugar to taste).’
    • ‘Wash the sago and cook in the extraction of milk.’
    • ‘Foods like coconuts, sago and other staples like cassava, sweet potatoes and taro are collected and donated.’
    • ‘Canoes have played a crucial role for the Kamoro to retain their semi-nomadic lifestyle, particularly in collecting sago and catching fish - their two basic staples of their diet.’
    1. 1.1A sweet dish made from sago and milk.
      • ‘When sago is exported to western countries it is mixed to a paste with water and rubbed through a coarse sieve to make small pellets, thus giving it the familiar ‘frogspawn’ texture which is visible in a sago pudding.’
      • ‘Milk puddings were served most days in the week - rice, tapioca, sago and semolina puddings, junket made with Rennet, and yellow coloured custard made with Edmonds custard powder.’
      • ‘Casey bit into the mango and sago pudding and grinned.’
      • ‘Grab a sweet bun from the bakery and get a sago from around the corner.’
      • ‘Three things you just can't do: Yodel, get excited about rugby and swallow sago pudding.’
      • ‘When householders are given the chips, they get a lipstick-sized phial containing what looks like black sago pudding - vast numbers of particles held in a white bonding solution.’
      • ‘It is like beating my head against sago pudding.’
      • ‘After our mains we were tempted by dessert and were well pleased by the pancakes, which were crispy and almost pastry-like in texture, and the sago gula melaka ordered by my daughter.’
      • ‘It was her first taste of sago and she was full of compliments for this dish, which was enhanced with palm sugar and coconut milk.’
  • 2The palm from which most sago is obtained, growing in freshwater swamps in SE Asia.

    • ‘Cycadales, ‘true cycads,’ are still with us and are represented by the common sago palm and the cardboard palm, often seen as decorative indoor plants or in outdoor gardens in the southern United States.’
    • ‘The Asmat subsist by fishing and by harvesting wild sago trees, whose pith is carbohydrate-rich.’
    • ‘From a felled sago palm, they break up the core of the trunk and separate the pure starch from the fibers.’
    • ‘Although sago palms are found on some of the Fijian Islands, this plant was never a staple as it was in other nearby islands of the Pacific.’
    • ‘Today they are being initiated in the village of Na Khao Sia, where they are learning from local ‘women about the value and traditional uses of sago palm trees.’’
    • ‘One sago palm may yield up to 400 kg of starch.’
    • ‘The sago palm is an important foodstuff in parts of the lowland areas of Melanesia.’
    • ‘The sago palm grows 7-8 m high and is felled when it flowers.’
    • ‘The collection, cultivation and production of foodstuffs is the primary focus of village life and the staple food is sago, a starch product that is processed from the sago palm by women.’
    • ‘A 23-year-old woman from Indonesia clung to a floating sago palm tree in the ocean before being rescued by a Malaysian ship.’
    • ‘Throughout the homeland of the Penan, sago and rattan, palms, lianas, and fruit trees lie crushed on the forest floor.’
    • ‘As for the carvings, I bought some rather lovely chopsticks made from wild betel nut palm and a dolphin carved from the nut of the sago palm.’
    • ‘The Iatmul diet consists primarily of fish and the edible palm tree called sago.’
    • ‘The cycads are well known as garden plants and the group includes the sago palm.’
    • ‘More prosaically, the Kombai tribe in remote Papua New Guinea swamps hoist their dwellings as much as 30m up towering sago palms to avoid enemies and repel mosquitoes.’
    • ‘Surrounded by small Mexican pebbles, a young sago palm rises from a square, 30-inch-deep stain-less steel planter column, one of two flanking the rear stairway.’
    • ‘For a long time it was generally accepted that reliance on sago palms was inversely correlated to the development of conventional agriculture.’
    • ‘In this story, the first sago came from inside a man's body who defecated and the sago fell to the ground and became a sago palm.’
    • ‘The ingestion of azalea, oleander, castor bean, sago palm, Easter lily (in cats, only) or yew plant material by an animal can be fatal.’
    • ‘In 1995, villagers complained about the deteriorating state of the sago palms, which, they claimed, were increasingly useless as they never matured.’
    • ‘Likewise, the center says certain plants are fatal if eaten, including azalea, oleander, sago palm and yew.’
    • ‘It is not only the sago palms and swamps that are affected: increasingly, garden foods are ‘spoiled’ through immersion in water that previously irrigated them.’
    • ‘The sago palm, Metroxylon sagu, is an increasingly socio-economically important crop in South-East Asia.’
    1. 2.1Any of a number of palms or cycads which yield a starch similar to sago.
      • ‘Prime candidates are the DNA poison cycasin from the false sago palm, or two excitotoxins that also come from this palm.’


Mid 16th century: from Malay sagu (originally via Portuguese).