Definition of sisal in US English:



  • 1A Mexican agave with large fleshy leaves, cultivated for fiber production.

    Agave sisalana, family Agavaceae

    • ‘Many were recruited to the armed forces, or conscripted to labour on sisal and rubber plantations.’
    • ‘Originally hammocks were made from the bark of the hamack tree, later from the sisal plant whose fibres could be softened and woven.’
    • ‘A hot, wet coastal plain rises through thick forest and areas planted with sisal to a warm plateau.’
    • ‘Sharply declining world prices for sisal exports delayed or aborted several projects.’
    • ‘He was educated at Rugby School and after this, he managed his father's sisal plantation in the Bahamas for seven years.’
    • ‘The area is so dry that the only crop that grows easily there is a cactus-like plant called sisal, whose fibers can make rope or thread.’
    • ‘Born at Kitwe, he worked on a sisal plantation and rose to become a financial manager.’
    • ‘Commercial farming of cotton, pineapples, and sisal has had little success.’
    • ‘Some commercial agricultural products, such as sisal, coffee, and cotton, are sold.’
    • ‘His account of migrant workers' lives on colonial sisal plantations is particularly interesting.’
    • ‘Other products used are sisal and ficus leaves, as well as discarded cotton, usually from worn cotton sheets from hospitals.’
    • ‘From 1890, he spent seven years unsuccessfully running his father's sisal plantation in the Bahamas.’
    1. 1.1 The fiber made from the sisal plant, used especially for ropes or matting.
      • ‘A 6 x 7 wire line was six strands of seven wires each, closed in a spiral direction around a fiber core, usually Manila or sisal.’
      • ‘Painted in shades of brown and gold, and heavily outlined in black, each twist of sisal may be read as a discrete unit.’
      • ‘He had noticed that the thick sisal rope had been cut halfway through with a sharp instrument, probably a knife.’
      • ‘American companies little by little took control of the Mexican supply, making sisal twine cheaper and more reliable than it had been.’
      • ‘If you get a scratching post or even better a cat condo that usually have both wood and wood covered with sisal and carpet, the likelihood that the cat would find a surface to use is very good.’
      • ‘She had hung a pair of sunglasses around her neck on a gold chain, and carried an enormous sisal handbag.’
      • ‘The delicate fabrics contrast with the coarsely woven sisal rug in the living room.’
      • ‘In cultural dances, performers may put on feathered hats and skirts made of sisal strands.’
      • ‘Homegrown sisal fiber rather than coconut fiber is used in the production of our full range of vehicles for the domestic and export markets.’
      • ‘He started a carpet factory to weave sisal thread into products that could be sold in global markets.’
      • ‘The floor could be cool polished or varnished wood, with natural fibre rugs or coverings in seagrass, sisal or coir to give warmth.’
      • ‘We have a nice couch (not leather but an expensive material) with a homemade sisal scratching post just off the most tempting corner.’
      • ‘Products made out of biodegradable materials like sisal and areca spathes were also on show at the Town Hall.’


Mid 19th century: from Sisal, the name of a port in Yucatán, Mexico.