Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spongy, flammable substance prepared from bracket fungi, formerly used as a styptic and as tinder.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A spongy, combustible substance, prepared from fungus (Boletus and Polyporus) which grows on old trees; German tinder; punk. It has been employed as a styptic by surgeons, but its common use is as tinder, for which purpose it is prepared by soaking it in a strong solution of niter.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A soft spongy substance, consisting of the more solid portion of a fungus (Polyporus fomentarius and other species found growing on forest-trees), steeped in a solution of saltpeter.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French amadou tinder, properly lure, bait, from amadouer to allure, caress, perhaps from Icelandic mata to feed, which is akin to English meat.

Examples

  • In the corner behind the door, shining hob-nailed shoes stood in a row under the slab of the washstand, near a bottle of oil with a feather stuck in its mouth; a Matthieu Laensberg lay on the dusty mantelpiece amid gunflints, candle-ends, and bits of amadou.

    Madame Bovary

  • With the amadou he lighted up, and after about a dozen whiffs his eyes closed, his pipe escaped from his fingers, and he fell asleep.

    Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon

  • My uncle did not forget — a supply of tobacco, coarse grained powder, and amadou, nor a leathern belt in which he carried

    Journey to the Interior of the Earth

  • Thomé says that Boletus laricis and Polyporus fomentarius yield the “amadou” of commerce.

    Among the Mushrooms A Guide For Beginners

  • Besides the uses of fungi as scavengers of creation, there are some which have a commercial value and yield an article called “amadou.”

    Among the Mushrooms A Guide For Beginners

  • In this English publication, the word "punk" is not used; the substance is called "amadou."

    The Book of the Damned

  • The tin tricolor flag swings at the top of the church-steeple; the two chintz streamers still flutter in the wind from the linen-draper's; the chemist's fetuses, like lumps of white amadou, rot more and more in their turbid alcohol, and above the big door of the inn the old golden lion, faded by rain, still shows passers-by its poodle mane.

    The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. VIII (of X) - Continental Europe II.

  • My uncle did not forget - a supply of tobacco, coarse grained powder, and amadou, nor a leathern belt in which he carried a sufficient quantity of gold, silver, and paper money.

    A Journey to the Interior of the Earth

  • Therefore every traveller should carry on his person the means of procuring a light, under ordinary circumstances of wind and weather; that is to say, he should have in his pocket a light handy steel, a flint or an agate, and amadou or other tinder.

    The Art of Travel Shifts and Contrivances Available in Wild Countries

  • He tried at first to replace amadou, which he so unfortunately lacked, by another and analogous material.

    Godfrey Morgan A Californian Mystery

Comments

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  • Thanks--I just added it to my "which see" list.

    July 21, 2011

  • Which see. What mean and how so?

    July 21, 2011

  • "A soft spongy substance, consisting of the more solid portion of a fungus (Polyporus fomentarius and other species found growing on forest-trees), steeped in a solution of saltpeter. Amadou has been successfully employed in surgery as a styptic, and in the form of punk it is used as a port-fire (which see). Also called black-match, pyrotechnical sponge, and German tinder." --Cent. Dict.

    July 21, 2011