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

  • n. The art of carving or incising intricate designs on whalebone or whale ivory.
  • n. A decorative article made by this art.
  • transitive v. To decorate (whale ivory or whalebone) with intricate carvings or designs or make such designs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The manufacture of handicrafts by sailors on long voyages, especially as whittled from wood or bone.
  • n. An item produced by scrimshaw.
  • v. To make an item of scrimshaw.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A shell, a whale's tooth, or the like, that is scrimshawed.
  • transitive v. To ornament, as shells, ivory, etc., by engraving, and (usually) rubbing pigments into the incised lines.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To engrave various fanciful designs on (shells, whales' teeth, walrus-tusks, etc.); in general, to execute any piece of ingenious mechanical work.
  • n. A shell or a piece of ivory scrimshawed or fancifully carved.
  • Made by scrimshawing.

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

  • n. a carving (or engraving) on whalebone, whale ivory, walrus tusk, etc., usually by American whalers


Probably from scrimshander.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Origin unknown. (Wiktionary)



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