[ muhth-er-uhv-purl ]
/ ˈmʌð ər əvˈpɜrl /
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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.
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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. 2023
How to use mother-of-pearl in a sentence
It must have been the window-panes, for he was anxious to get the most beautiful mother-of-pearl he could find.Alila, Our Little Philippine Cousin|Mary Hazelton Wade
But the face of the Sovereign of the waters shone with a light more tender than either the mother-of-pearl or the crystal.Honey-Bee|Anatole France
Also an antique brass snuff-box inlaid with mother-of-pearl turned up but little injured.The Sinn Fein rebellion As I Saw It.|Mrs. Hamilton Norway
In the corners stood carved cupboards, damascened with ebony and mother-of-pearl.The Precipice|Ivan Goncharov
In Figure 66 are shown two fine examples of Oriental lacquer-work ornamented with gold and inlaid with mother-of-pearl flowers.The Old Furniture Book|N. Hudson Moore
British Dictionary definitions for mother-of-pearl
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
Scientific definitions for mother-of-pearl
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.