[meer-shuhm, -shawm]
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.
a tobacco pipe with a bowl made of this substance.

1775–85; < German Meerschaum, equivalent to Meer sea (see mere2) + Schaum foam Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
meerschaum (ˈmɪəʃəm)
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
[C18: German, literally: sea foam]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1789, "tobacco pipe with a bowl made of meerschaum," a type of soft white clay, from Ger., lit. "sea-foam," so called from its frothy appearance, translation of L. spuma maris, from Pers. kef-i-darya.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
They get their name from the flower's resemblance to a meerschaum pipe.
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