Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A hydrated sodium borate, Na2B4O7·10H2O, an ore of boron, that is used as a cleaning compound.
  • n. An anhydrous sodium borate used in the manufacture of glass and various ceramics.
  • n. Cheap merchandise, especially tasteless furnishings: "today's glinty borax” ( New Yorker).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A white or gray/grey crystalline salt, with a slight alkaline taste, used as a flux, in soldering metals, making enamels, fixing colors/colours on porcelain, and as a soap, etc.
  • n. The sodium salt of boric acid, Na2B4O7, either anhydrous or with 5 or 10 molecules of water of crystallisation; sodium tetraborate.
  • adj. Cheap or tawdry, referring to furniture or other works of industrial design.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A white or gray crystalline salt, with a slight alkaline taste, used as a flux, in soldering metals, making enamels, fixing colors on porcelain, and as a soap. It occurs native in certain mineral springs, and is made from the boric acid of hot springs in Tuscany. It was originally obtained from a lake in Thibet, and was sent to Europe under the name of tincal. Borax is a pyroborate or tetraborate of sodium, Na2B4O7.10H2O.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Sodium tetraborate or pyroborate, Na2B4O7 + 10H2O, a salt formed by the union of boracic acid and soda.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an ore of boron consisting of hydrated sodium borate; used as a flux or cleansing agent

Etymologies

Middle English, from Medieval Latin bōrāx, from Arabic būraq, from Middle Persian būrak.
Perhaps from the custom of giving away borax soap as a premium for the sale of cheap furniture.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English boras, from Anglo-Norman boreis, from Medieval Latin baurach ("borax"), from Arabic بورق (báuraq), from Middle Persian 𐭡𐭥𐭥𐭪 (būrak). Compare Persian بوره (būreh). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Hey! Idea! How about a list titled "This List Is Boring" that has words starting with bor-?

    July 30, 2008