oakum

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English okome, from Old English ācumba (oakum, literally that which has been combed out, off-combings), a derivative of ācemban (to comb out), from Proto-Germanic *uz- + *kambijaną (to comb), from Proto-Indo-European *uds-, *ūd- (out) + *ǵombʰ-, *ǵembʰ- (tooth, nail; to pierce, gnaw through). More at out, comb.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

oakum (countable and uncountable, plural oakums)

  1. A material, consisting of tarred fibres, used to caulk or pack joints in plumbing, masonry, and wooden shipbuilding.
  2. The coarse portion separated from flax or hemp in hackling.
    • 1983, Peter Ackroyd, The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde:
      My eyesight began to fail, from the strain of picking oakum in my cell.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (flax or hemp fibers separated in hackling): tow, hards

Translations[edit]

Anagrams[edit]