ambergris


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

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 other parts of the tropics, and also as a
   morbid secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale
   (Physeter macrocephalus), which is believed to be in all
   cases its true origin. In color it is white, ash-gray,
   yellow, or black, and often variegated like marble. The
   floating masses are sometimes from sixty to two hundred and
   twenty-five pounds in weight. It is wholly volatilized as a
   white vapor at 212[deg] Fahrenheit, and is highly valued in
   perfumery. --Dana.
   [1913 Webster]
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