Also called pumice stone. a porous or spongy form of volcanic glass, used as an abrasive.

verb (used with object), pum·iced, pum·ic·ing.

to rub, smooth, clean, etc., with pumice.

Nearby words

  1. pulvinar,
  2. pulvinate,
  3. pulvinus,
  4. puma,
  5. pumelo,
  6. pumice country,
  7. pumice stone,
  8. pumiceous,
  9. pummel,
  10. pummelo

Origin of pumice

before 1000; < Latin pūmic-, stem of pūmex pumice stone; replacing Middle English pomis(e), pomish(e), pomice < Middle French pomis < Latin; compare Old English pumic- (< L), in pumicstān pumice stone; see pounce3

Related formspu·mi·ceous [pyoo-mish-uh s] /pyuˈmɪʃ əs/, adjectivepum·ic·er, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pumice

British Dictionary definitions for pumice



Also called: pumice stone a light porous acid volcanic rock having the composition of rhyolite, used for scouring and, in powdered form, as an abrasive and for polishing


(tr) to rub or polish with pumice
Derived Formspumiceous (pjuːˈmɪʃəs), adjective

Word Origin for pumice

C15 pomys, from Old French pomis, from Latin pūmex

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

Word Origin and History for pumice



c.1400, from Anglo-French and Old French pomis (13c.), from Late Latin pomicem (nominative pomex, genitive pumicis), from Oscan *poimex or some other dialectal variant of Latin pumex "pumice," from PIE *(s)poi-mo-, a root with connotations of "foam, froth" (see foam (n.)). Old English had pumic-stan. As a verb, early 15c., from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for pumice




A light, porous, glassy lava, used as an abrasive.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for pumice



A usually light-colored, porous, lightweight rock of volcanic origin. The pores form when water vapor and gases escape from the lava during its quick solidification into rock.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.