[muhth -er-uh v-purl]
- a hard, iridescent substance that forms the inner layer of certain mollusk shells, used for making buttons, beads, etc.; nacre.
- of or having the qualities of mother-of-pearl, as being iridescent or pearly: mother-of-pearl buttons.
Origin of mother-of-pearl
1500–10; compare Italian madreperla, obsolete French mère perle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for mother-of-pearl
One moment he lay there, glowing like mother-of-pearl, a rare fish, fresh from the sea.Tales of Fishes
Once he crossed his eyes at me, meditatively, above the mother-of-pearl rims.Romance
Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
The slant rays of the sun struck them and turned them mother-of-pearl.The Long Roll
We saw a number of divers preparing to go off to get pearls, mother-of-pearl, etc.The Philippine Islands
Without, it had the tints of the mother-of-pearl, while its framework was of silver.The Angel Children
Charlotte M. Higgins
- a hard iridescent substance, mostly calcium carbonate, that forms the inner layer of the shells of certain molluscs, such as the oyster. It is used to make buttons, inlay furniture, etcAlso called: nacre Related adjective: nacreous
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
- The hard, smooth, pearly layer on the inside of certain seashells, such as abalones and certain oysters. It is used to make buttons and jewelry. Also called nacre
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.