American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A fine, compact, usually white claylike mineral of hydrous magnesium silicate, H4Mg2Si3O10, found in the Mediterranean area and used in fashioning tobacco pipes and as a building stone. Also called sepiolite.
- n. A tobacco pipe with a bowl made of this mineral.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A hydrated silicate of magnesium, occurring in fine white clay-like masses, which when dry will float on water; sepiolite. The name, from the German for ‘sea-foam,’ alludes to the lightness and the snow-white color. It is found in various regions, but occurs chiefly in Asia Minor, Livadia, and the island of Eubœa. When first taken out it is soft, and makes lather like soap. It is manufactured into tobacco-pipes, which, after being carved or turned, are baked to dry them, then boiled in milk, polished, and finally boiled in oil or wax. Artificial meerschaum is made from the chips and waste left from meerschaum-cutting, consolidated by pressure. Meerschaum is imitated also in plaster of Paris, treated with paraffin and colored with gamboge and dragon's-blood, and in other ways.
- n. A pipe made from this substance. Such pipes are valued from their taking a rich brown color from the oil of tobacco gradually absorbed by the material.
- n. uncountable A soft white mineral, chiefly used for smoking-pipes and cigar holders.
- n. countable A smoking-pipe made from meerschaum.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Min.) A fine white claylike mineral, soft, and light enough when in dry masses to float in water. It is a hydrous silicate of magnesia, and is obtained chiefly in Asia Minor. It is manufacturd into tobacco pipes, cigar holders, etc. Also called
- n. A tobacco pipe made of this mineral; a meerschaum pipe.
- n. a pipe having a bowl made of meerschaum
- n. a white clayey mineral
- Borrowing from German Meerschaum ("sea foam"). (Wiktionary)
- German : Meer, sea (from Middle High German mer, from Old High German mari; see mori- in Indo-European roots) + Schaum, foam (from Middle High German schūm, from Old High German scūm; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“At length removing carefully his meerschaum from the right to the left corner of his mouth, he condescended to speak.”
“For, your meerschaum is a fragile thing, and eminently frangible.”
“To colour a meerschaum was the ambition of smokers, swearing was considered neither low nor vulgar, and snuffing was fashionable.”
“A small pipe -- I think the Germans call meerschaum -- I could not despise, nor a great bundle of tobacco, which I thrust into the inside pouch of the cloak.”
“Jimmy led them, his hands deep in his pockets, puffing white steam-clouds at regular intervals from his "meerschaum" pipe.”
“Generally he sat clasping one knee, staring directly in front of him, and puffing regularly on a "meerschaum" pipe he had earned by saving the tags of Spearhead tobacco.”
“The New Yorker essayist George Plimpton also remembered that invasion of the Harlem peacocks in their enormous purple Cadillacs: "I'd never seen crowds as fancy, especially the men – felt hatbands and feathered capes, and the stilted shoes, the heels like polished ebony, and many smoking stuff in odd meerschaum pipes.”
“Well, colonel, replace the meerschaum in your broom-moustache face and I'll tell you:”
“I suppose you only read Kant in the original German wearing lederhosen and stuffing high grade skunk into your meerschaum.”
“German troops each received a large meerschaum pipe, and fine cigars for the officers.”
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