a carved or engraved article, especially of whale ivory, whalebone, walrus tusks, or the like, made by whalers as a leisure occupation.
such articles or work collectively.
the art or technique of carving or engraving whale ivory, whalebone, walrus tusks, etc.
verb (used without object)
to produce scrimshaw.
verb (used with object)
to carve or engrave (whale ivory or whalebone) into scrimshaw.

1860–65; of obscure origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
scrimshaw (ˈskrɪmˌʃɔː)
1.  the art of decorating or carving shells, ivory, etc, done by sailors as a leisure activity
2.  a.  an article made in this manner
 b.  such articles collectively
3.  to produce scrimshaw (from)
[C19: origin uncertain, perhaps after a surname]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1864, back-formation from scrimshander ("Moby Dick," 1851), scrimshonting (1825), Amer.Eng. nautical word, of unknown origin. Scrimshaw is an Eng. surname, attested from 1154, from O.Fr. escremisseor "fencing-master."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Scrimshaw or carving should cover a significant portion of the tusk.
Some people decorated their powder horn with fancy carvings called scrimshaw.
The museum's gift shop offers scrimshaw artifacts of original vintage, as well as reproductions, and other souvenirs.
Allows further renewal up to five years for certificates of exemption of pre-Act scrimshaw.
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