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eggshell

[eg-shel] /ˈɛgˌʃɛl/
noun
1.
the shell of a bird's egg, consisting of keratin fibers and calcite crystals.
2.
a pale yellowish-white color.
3.
rather bulky paper having a slightly rough finish.
adjective
4.
like an eggshell, as in thinness and delicacy; very brittle; fragile.
5.
being pale yellowish-white in color.
6.
having little or no gloss:
eggshell white paint.
Origin of eggshell
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English ayschelle. See egg1, shell
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for eggshell
Historical Examples
  • "You can never get through those rollers--they will break you up like an eggshell," the old fisherman shouted.

    With Wolfe in Canada G. A. Henty
  • It is inadequate to say that the skull was smashed to bits like an eggshell.

  • As he dropped the boat in the river, it danced as uneasily and buoyantly as an eggshell.

    The Frontier Angel Edward S. Ellis
  • Our boat was but an eggshell, and we had few clothes to defend us from the weather.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 8 Charles H. Sylvester
  • The "football" for this game is an eggshell which has had the egg blown out of it.

    Games for Everybody May C. Hofmann
  • Either trunk would have crushed the old camp like an eggshell!

    When Life Was Young C. A. Stephens
  • The mere weight of his limbs, he was sure, would crush the little bed-stead like an eggshell.

    McTeague Frank Norris
  • May they curl themselves into an eggshell and be your guests to-morrow.

  • Crash went the eggshell, as a wagon rolled over both of them.

    Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales Hans Christian Andersen
  • When you try to chaff people, it is like an elephant dancing on eggshell china.

    Mammon and Co. E. F. Benson
British Dictionary definitions for eggshell

eggshell

/ˈɛɡˌʃɛl/
noun
1.
the hard porous protective outer layer of a bird's egg, consisting of calcite and protein
2.
a yellowish-white colour
3.
a type of paper with a slightly rough finish
4.
(modifier) (of paint) having a very slight sheen: an eggshell finish
5.
walk on eggshells, to be very cautious or diplomatic for fear of upsetting someone
adjective
6.
of a yellowish-white colour: eggshell paint
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for eggshell
n.

early 15c., from egg (n.) + shell (n.). Earlier ay-schelle (c.1300). Emblematic of "thin and delicate" from 1835; as a color term, from 1894. The figure of treading on eggshells "to move cautiously" is attested by 1734.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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