ambergris


ambergris
ambergris (n.) early 15c., from M.Fr. ambre gris "gray amber" (see AMBER (Cf. amber)), "a wax-like substance of ashy colour, found floating in tropical seas, and as a morbid secretion in the intestines of the sperm-whale. Used in perfumery, and formerly in cookery" [OED]. King Charles II's favorite dish was said to be eggs and ambergris [Macauley, "History of England"]. Fr. gris is from Frankish *gris or some other Germanic source (Cf. Du. grijs, O.H.G. gris; see GRAY (Cf. gray)).
Praise is like ambergris; a little whiff of it, by snatches, is very agreeable; but when a man holds a whole lump of it to his nose, it is a stink and strikes you down. [Pope, c.1720]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Ambergris — (Ambra grisea, Ambre gris, ambergrease, or grey amber) is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull gray or blackish color produced in the digestive system of sperm whales. Ambergris has a peculiar sweet, earthy odor (similar to isopropyl… …   Wikipedia

  • Ambergris — Am ber*gris ([a^]m b[ e]r*gr[=e]s), n. [F. ambre gris, i. e., gray amber; F. gris gray, which is of German origin: cf. OS. gr[^i]s, G. greis, gray haired. See {Amber}.] A substance of the consistence of wax, found floating in the Indian Ocean and …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ambergris — ► NOUN ▪ a wax like substance secreted from the intestines of the sperm whale, found floating in tropical seas and used in perfume manufacture. ORIGIN from Old French ambre gris grey amber …   English terms dictionary

  • ambergris — [am′bərgrēs΄, am′bərgris΄] n. [ME ambregris < OFr ambre gris < ambre (see AMBER) + gris < Frank * grīs, akin to MHG, OS, Du gris, gray] a grayish, waxy substance from the intestines of sperm whales, often found floating in tropical seas …   English World dictionary

  • ambergris — /am beuhr grees , gris/, n. an opaque, ash colored secretion of the sperm whale intestine, usually found floating on the ocean or cast ashore: used in perfumery. [1375 1425; < MF ambre gris gray amber (see AMBER); r. late ME imbergres] * * * Waxy …   Universalium

  • ambergris — [15] The original term for ambergris (a waxy material from the stomach of the sperm whale) was amber. But as confusion began to arise between the two substances amber and ambergris, amber came to be used for both in all the languages that had… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • ambergris — [15] The original term for ambergris (a waxy material from the stomach of the sperm whale) was amber. But as confusion began to arise between the two substances amber and ambergris, amber came to be used for both in all the languages that had… …   Word origins

  • ambergris — noun A solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull grey or blackish color, produced in the intestines of the sperm whale. It is used in perfumes. And as for the other whale, why, I’ll agree to get more oil by chopping up and trying out these three …   Wiktionary

  • ambergris — [[t]æ̱mbə(r)griːs[/t]] N UNCOUNT Ambergris is a waxy substance produced by sperm whales. It is used to make some perfumes …   English dictionary

  • ambergris — ambra statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Vaškinė medžiaga, susidaranti kašaloto žarnyne. atitikmenys: angl. ambergris rus. амбра …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas