What is the origin of saboten?

The origin of the word saboten (仙人掌,覇王樹,サボテン), meaning "cactus", is unclear. It may be a combination of the Portuguese word for soap, sabão and te (), "hand". This was because a kind of cactus called uchiwa saboten was used for cleaning oil from tatami mats.[1]

References

  1. Origin of Saboten by Digital Daijisen

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