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[ney-ker] /ˈneɪ kər/
Origin of nacre
1590-1600; < Medieval Latin nacrum, nacer, variant of nacara < Old Italian naccara kind of drum, nacre < Arabic naqqārah drum Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nacre
  • When an intruder bores into the oyster shell, the oyster reacts by covering it with nacre, producing a pearl.
  • In particular, they've looked to the porous but resilient material called nacre that lines abalone shells.
  • Many biological materials use the same trick to increase their strength, materials such as bone, teeth and nacre.
  • To reduce irritation, it is coated with nacre, the same secretion the animal uses to grow its shell.
  • Cultured pearls are formed by the deposition of nacre onto a spherical nucleus.
British Dictionary definitions for nacre


the technical name for mother-of-pearl
Derived Forms
nacred, adjective
Word Origin
C16: via French from Old Italian naccara, from Arabic naqqārah shell, drum
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 nacre

1590s, "type of shellfish that yields mother-of-pearl," from Middle French nacre (14c.), from Italian naccaro (now nacchera), possibly from Arabic naqur "hunting horn" (from nakara "to hollow out"), in reference to the shape of the mollusk shell. Meaning "mother-of-pearl" is from 1718.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nacre in Science
See mother-of-pearl.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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