Definitions

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

  • n. A tough, wiry grass (Stipa tenacissima) of northern Africa, yielding a fiber used in making paper and as cordage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A perennial North African grass, Stipa tenacissima, used for fibre production, and for making paper.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A species of Spanish grass (Macrochloa tenacissima), of which cordage, shoes, baskets, etc., are made. It is also used for making paper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A name given to two or three species of grass, the Macrochloa (Stipa) tenacissima, M. arenaria, and Lygeum Spartum of botanists, and especially to the first, which is abundant in northern Africa.

Etymologies

Spanish, from Latin spartum, from Greek sparton, rope.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish esparto, via Latin spartum from Ancient Greek σπάρτον (spárton, "rope, cable"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Kingdom the conditions of its competition are of a more special kind by reason of the firm foothold of esparto, which is a most important staple in the manufacture of fine printings.

    Researches on Cellulose 1895-1900

  • Paper itself was also becoming less expensive because of a combination of improved manufacturing at paper mills and the use of less expensive raw materials such as esparto grass.

    Grand Theft Childhood

  • Its economic prospects could hardly be called promising; in the years after World War II, its leading exports were two: esparto, a type of grass used to make paper for currency bills, and scrap metal scavenged from the rusting tanks and trucks and weaponry that had been left behind by the Axis and Allied Armies.

    The Prize

  • A naked sword leaned against a stool by the side of a shield; whips of hippopotamus leather, cymbals, bells, and necklaces were displayed pell-mell on baskets of esparto-grass; a felt rug lay soiled with crumbs of black bread; some copper money was carelessly heaped upon

    Salammbo

  • As to the pay of the Mercenaries it nearly filled two esparto-grass baskets; there were even visible in one of them some of the leathern discs which the Republic used to economise its specie; and as the Barbarians appeared greatly surprised, Hanno told them that, their accounts being very difficult, the Ancients had not had leisure to examine them.

    Salammbo

  • The strips of esparto-grass with which the doors were closed, beat against the walls.

    Salammbo

  • Why, I would not use esparto for my bed, even though I had nothing but bands of rushes.

    The Birds

  • A small group of vigiles appeared from behind the Baths of Agrippa, on the far side of her, now sensibly holding esparto mats in front of them.

    Two For The Lions

  • On top of the reeds he placed nine shells and nine short lengths of yarn, which he covered with esparto grass and more reeds.

    One River

  • SOLER, A. and GUZMAN, G. (1954) Characteristics of the wax from esparto (Stipa tenacissima).

    Chapter 5

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