ambergris

[ am-ber-grees, -gris ]
/ ˈæm bərˌgris, -grɪs /

noun

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

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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. 2020

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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.