sea sawdust

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Coined by sailors on Captain James Cook's 1768-71 voyage (his first voyage) to the south seas and Australia.


sea sawdust (uncountable)

  1. Marine blue-green algae (cyanobacteria, actually brown coloured) of the genus Trichodesmium.
    • 1770, The Endeavour Journal of Sir Joseph Banks at Project Gutenberg Australia
      The seamen who are now convinc'd that it was not as they had thought the spawn of fish began to call it Sea sawdust, a name certainly not ill adapted to its appearance.