mother-of-pearl

[ muhth-er-uh v-purl ]
/ ˈmʌð ər əvˈpɜrl /

noun

a hard, iridescent substance that forms the inner layer of certain mollusk shells, used for making buttons, beads, etc.; nacre.

adjective

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. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for mother of pearl

mother-of-pearl

noun

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

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.