ambergris

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English[edit]

Ambergris.jpg

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Old French ambre gris (grey amber). Though the term was initially spaced as two words, single-word forms predominated by the 19th century. In the 17th century, folk etymologies interpreting the term as amber grease or amber [of] Greece enjoyed some popularity.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

ambergris (uncountable)

  1. (uncountable) A solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull grey or blackish color, produced in the intestines of the sperm whale. It is used in perfumes.
    • 1851Herman Melville, Moby Dick
      And as for the other whale, why, I’ll agree to get more oil by chopping up and trying out these three masts of ours, than he’ll get from that bundle of bones; though, now that I think of it, it may contain something worth a good deal more than oil; yes, ambergris.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Mark Morton, Cupboard Love 2: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities