Dictionary.com

ambergris

[ am-ber-grees, -gris ]
/ ˈæm bərˌgris, -grɪs /
Save This Word!

noun

an opaque, ash-colored secretion of the sperm whale intestine, usually found floating on the ocean or cast ashore: used in perfumery.

QUIZZES

THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?

Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
Question 1 of 8
Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?

Origin of ambergris

1375–1425; <Middle French ambre gris gray amber (see amber); replacing late Middle English imbergres
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for ambergris

British Dictionary definitions for ambergris

ambergris
/ (ˈæmbəˌɡriːs, -ˌɡrɪs) /

noun

a waxy substance consisting mainly of cholesterol secreted by the intestinal tract of the sperm whale and often found floating in the sea: used in the manufacture of perfumes

Word Origin for ambergris

C15: from Old French ambre gris grey amber
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

Scientific definitions for ambergris

ambergris
[ ămbər-grĭs′, -grēs′ ]

A yellow, gray, or black waxy material formed in the intestines of sperm whales that consists of a mixture of steroid derivatives. It is often found floating at sea or washed ashore, has a pleasant odor, and is added to perfumes as a fixative to slow down the rate of evaporation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See Today's Synonym