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meerschaum

[meer-shuh m, -shawm] /ˈmɪər ʃəm, -ʃɔm/
noun
1.
a mineral, hydrous magnesium silicate, H 4 Mg 2 Si 3 O 1 0 , occurring in white, claylike masses, used for ornamental carvings, for pipe bowls, etc.; sepiolite.
2.
a tobacco pipe with a bowl made of this substance.
Origin
1775-1785
1775-85; < German Meerschaum, equivalent to Meer sea (see mere2) + Schaum foam
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for meerschaum
  • They get their name from the flower's resemblance to a meerschaum pipe.
British Dictionary definitions for meerschaum

meerschaum

/ˈmɪəʃəm/
noun
1.
Also called sepiolite. a white, yellowish, or pink compact earthy mineral consisting of hydrated magnesium silicate: used to make tobacco pipes and as a building stone. Formula: Mg2Si3O6(OH)4
2.
a tobacco pipe having a bowl made of this mineral
Word Origin
C18: German, literally: sea foam
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for meerschaum
n.

type of soft white clay, 1784; from 1789 as "tobacco pipe with a bowl made of meerschaum clay," from German Meerschaum, literally "sea-foam," so called from its frothy appearance; from Old High German mari "sea" (see mere (n.)) + scum "scum" (see skim (v.)). A loan-translation of Latin spuma maris, itself said to be a loan translation of Greek halos akhne, from Persian kaf-i-darya.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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