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Lumps of pure silver bearing the stamp of a banker or an assayer and formerly used in China as money.
[Cantonese sai3 si1, fine silver (literally, fine silk, so called because the pure silver can be spun into fine threads); akin to Mandarin xísī, fine silver : Mandarin xí, thin, fine (from Middle Chinese siaj`) + Mandarin sī, silk, thread (from Middle Chinese sẓ).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Historical Terms) silver ingots formerly used as a medium of exchange in China
[C18: from Chinese saì sz fine silk; so called because the silver can be made into threads as fine as silk]
fine silver in stamped ingots, formerly used in China as money.
[1705–15; < Chinese dial. (Guangdong) sai-sì silk floss]
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