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90s Slang You Should Know


[awr-muh-loo] /ˈɔr məˌlu/
Also called mosaic gold. an alloy of copper and zinc used to imitate gold.
Also called bronze doré, gilt bronze. gilded metal, especially cast brass or bronze gilded over fire with an amalgam of gold and mercury, used for furniture mounts and ornamental objects.
gold or gold powder prepared for use in gilding.
Origin of ormolu
1755-65; < French or moulu ground gold, equivalent to or (< Latin aurum) + moulu, past participle of moudre to grind < Latin molere Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ormolu
Historical Examples
  • A salver, mounted in a table with ormolu ornaments, sold for 81 guineas; the companion piece for 100.

    Ten Thousand Wonderful Things Edmund Fillingham King
  • The wood-work is painted white, and enriched with wreaths of leaves in ormolu.

    The Care of Books John Willis Clark
  • Then, in the very moment of our triumph, arrived that loathsome clock of ormolu, and crushed our whole design!

  • I shall merely present them with an ormolu timepiece—whatever that may be.

    Pincher Martin, O.D. H. Taprell Dorling
  • ormolu refers to designs in brass mounted upon the surface of the wood.

    The Old Furniture Book N. Hudson Moore
  • ormolu ornaments, when applied to cabinets and other works in wood, are also never satisfactory.

    Principles of Decorative Design Christopher Dresser
  • None of the pinchbeck pedigrees and ormolu titles of the continent.

    Endymion Benjamin Disraeli
  • They preferred the small clocks in ebony or alabaster casings with ormolu mounts.

    The Old Furniture Book N. Hudson Moore
  • But the candelabra of glass and ormolu, hanging from the ceiling, were very nearly of the date of the palace, and superb.

    The Marriage of William Ashe Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • At one of the ormolu tables, near a lamp with a pink shade, Gaston insisted on making at least a partial statement.

    The Reverberator Henry James
British Dictionary definitions for ormolu


  1. a gold-coloured alloy of copper, tin, or zinc used to decorate furniture, mouldings, etc
  2. (as modifier): an ormolu clock
gold prepared to be used for gilding
Word Origin
C18: from French or moulu ground gold
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
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Word Origin and History for ormolu

"alloy of copper, zinc, and tin, resembling gold," 1765, from French or moulu, literally "ground gold," from or "gold" (from Latin aurum, from PIE *aus- "gold;" see aureate)) + moulu "ground up," past participle of moudre "to grind," from Latin molere "to grind" (see mallet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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