a fiber obtained from the leaves of the raffia palm, used for tying plants and other objects and for making mats, baskets, hats, and the like.
Also, raphia.

1880–85; earlier rofia raffia palm, said to be < Malagasy

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World English Dictionary
raffia or raphia (ˈræfɪə)
1.  Also called: raffia palm a palm tree, Raphia ruffia, native to Madagascar, that has large plumelike leaves, the stalks of which yield a useful fibre
2.  the fibre obtained from this plant, used for tying, weaving, etc
3.  any of several related palms or the fibre obtained from them
[C19: from Malagasy]
raphia or raphia
[C19: from Malagasy]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1729, rofia, from Malagasy rafia. Modern form is attested from 1882; also raphia (1866).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Colored raffia could add a new twist to your basket skills.
Place raffia and scissors in one area and various containers of beads in another area to avoid congestion.
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