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See more synonyms for pumice on Thesaurus.com
  1. Also called pumice stone. a porous or spongy form of volcanic glass, used as an abrasive.
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verb (used with object), pum·iced, pum·ic·ing.
  1. to rub, smooth, clean, etc., with pumice.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for pumiceous

Historical Examples

  • All the upper part of the mountain is composed of a pumiceous tufa, rich in sanidine and of a characteristic greenish colour.

    A Study of Recent Earthquakes

    Charles Davison

  • Upon this rests a pumiceous breccia and conglomerate, with angular masses of trachyte, and some quartz pebbles.

  • It filled ravines, such as Fosso Grande, and concreted and hardened there into pumiceous tufa—a very instructive phenomenon.

British Dictionary definitions for pumiceous


  1. 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
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  1. (tr) to rub or polish with pumice
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Derived Formspumiceous (pjuːˈmɪʃəs), adjective

Word Origin

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 pumiceous


1670s, from Latin pumiceus "of pumice stone," from pumex (see pumice).

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pumiceous in Medicine


  1. A light, porous, glassy lava, used as an abrasive.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

pumiceous in Science


  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.