One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A wax-like substance that originates as a secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale, found floating in tropical seas and used in perfume manufacture.
- ‘So, I got some sea salt, put it in a dish of blue glass, and anointed the dish with ambergris.’
- ‘He excavates the skull, and finds six handfuls of ambergris.’
- ‘Apparently the plastic is infused with ambergris.’
- ‘In the oily water round it we find ambergris and other fine and wonderful things.’
- ‘It was probably a fatal piece of ambergris that caused his death.’
Late Middle English: from Old French ambre gris ‘grey amber’, as distinct from amber jaune ‘yellow amber’ (the resin).
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