The name tapioca is a word derived from tipi'óka, the name for this starch in Tupi. This Tupi word refers to the process by which the starch is made edible. However, as the word moved out of South America it came to refer to similar preparations made with other esculents.'Tapioca' in Britain often refers to a milk pudding thickened with arrowroot,vwhile in Asia the sap of the sago palm is often part of its preparation.
Pearl tapioca is similar to pearl sago, which is used in essentially the same ways. Consequently, tapioca may be called sago, and vice versa.