- (largely obsolete, uncommon after 1900:) amber-gris, amber gris
- (obsolete, unused after 1900:) ambergreece, amber-greece, amber greece; ambergrease, amber-grease, amber grease; ambergreese, amber-greese
- (obsolete, common from 1750 until 1820, unused after 1900:) ambergrise, amber-grise, amber grise
- (rare, obsolete, unused after 1900:) ambergreace, amber-greace, amber greace; ambergrece, amber-grece, amber grece; ambergrese, amber-grese, amber grese; ambergrice, amber-grice, amber grice; ambergriece, amber-griece, amber griece; ambergriese, amber-griese, amber griese; ambregrise; ambregris; amber de gris
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.
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈæm.bɚ.ɡɹɪs/, (sometimes) /ˈæm.bɚ.ɡɹis/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈæm.bə.ɡɹɪs/
Audio (US) (file)
- 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.
- 1607, [attributed to Thomas Tomkis], Lingva: Or The Combat of the Tongue, and the Five Senses for Superiority. A Pleasant Comœdie., London: Printed by G[eorge] Eld, for Simon Waterson, OCLC 52434902, Act IV, scene iii:
- Your onely way to make a good pomander, is this. Take an ownce of the pureſt garden mould, clenſed and ſteeped ſeauen daies in change of motherleſſe roſe water, then take the beſt Labdanum, Benioine, both Storaxes, amber greece, and Ciuet, and muſke, incorporate them together, and work them into what form you pleaſe; this, if your breath bee not to valiant, will make you ſmell as ſweete as my Ladies dogge.
- 1851 — Herman 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.
- ^ Mark Morton, Cupboard Love 2: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities
ambergris n (uncountable)