[ skrim-shaw ]

  1. a carved or engraved article, especially of whale ivory, whalebone, walrus tusks, or the like, made by whalers as a leisure occupation.

  2. such articles or work collectively.

  1. the art or technique of carving or engraving whale ivory, whalebone, walrus tusks, etc.

verb (used without object)
  1. to produce scrimshaw.

verb (used with object)
  1. to carve or engrave (whale ivory or whalebone) into scrimshaw.

Origin of scrimshaw

First recorded in 1860–65; of obscure origin

Words Nearby scrimshaw Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use scrimshaw in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for scrimshaw


/ (ˈskrɪmˌʃɔː) /

  1. the art of decorating or carving shells, ivory, etc, done by sailors as a leisure activity

    • an article made in this manner

    • such articles collectively

  1. to produce scrimshaw (from)

Origin of scrimshaw

C19: origin uncertain, perhaps after a surname

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