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[ney-ker] /ˈneɪ kər/
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. 2014.
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Examples 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
1598, "type of shellfish that yields mother-of-pearl," from M.Fr., from It. naccaro (now nacchera), possibly ult. from Arabic nakara "to hollow out," in ref. 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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