Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The root, bulb, or another plant part of several chiefly western North American plants, such as certain species of Agave, Chlorogalum, and Yucca, used as a substitute for soap.
  • n. A plant so used.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various parts of the Agave (or similar) plants, when used as soap
  • n. Other Mexican and North American plants used as soap

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any detergent plant, or the part of it used as a detergent, as the roots of Agave Americana, Chlorogalum pomeridianum, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A Mexican name for the roots of various species of plants which have detergent properties and are used as a substitute for soap.
  • n. The name of several plants which furnish these roots.

Etymologies

American Spanish, from Nahuatl amolli.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Mexican Spanish amole, from Classical Nahuatl ahmōlli. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Foam from their muzzles drips onto the ground in fat drops, like a lather of amole (soap) When they run, they make a loud noise, as if stones were raining on the earth.

    The Aztecs speak - an Aztec account of the Conquest of Mexico

  • All the way around the room, hanging from pegs driven into the wall, was a row of the broad heavy braided lashes of _amole_ weed, called

    The Blood of the Conquerors

  • Behind him came twenty or thirty more _penitentes_, the most I ever saw at once, some of them whipping themselves with big broad whips made out of _amole_.

    The Blood of the Conquerors

  • Yucca (Yucca sp.) — Both the datil (Y. baccata) and the amole (Y. glauca) grow in the Chaco area.

    Tseh So, a Small House Ruin, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico :

  • I've got the deer-brush spotted, and we'll pass an amole before we go very far.

    Her father`s daughter

  • When you reach the place where your left hand feels empty without a piece of bread in it, just butter up another amole and try it.

    Her father`s daughter

  • If Donald were lost now, he could keep alive for days, because he would know what wood would make him a bow and how he could take amole fiber and braid a bow string and where he could make arrows and arrow points so that he could shoot game for food.

    Her father`s daughter

  • At the right of her drawing Linda sketched in a fine specimen of monkey flower, deepening the yellow from the hearts of the amole lilies for the almost human little monkey faces.

    Her father`s daughter

  • On the left one giant specimen of amole, reared from a base of exquisitely waving leaves, ran up the side of the drawing and broke into an airy and graceful head of gold-hearted white lilies.

    Her father`s daughter

  • We take our choice today between finding deer-brush and digging for amole, because the mock oranges aren't ripe enough to be nice and soapy yet.

    Her father`s daughter

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