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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]