Saturday, March 19, 2016

Word of the day: meerschaum

The word of the day is meerschaum:
  1. 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.
  2. a tobacco pipe with a bowl made of this substance.
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.


"Whenever he had a moment to sit, he could usually be found smoking a meerschaum pipe, his head buried in a book."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

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