Definition of meerschaum in English:



  • 1A soft white claylike material consisting of hydrated magnesium silicate, found chiefly in Turkey.

    1. 1.1A tobacco pipe with the bowl made from this.
      • ‘The Honourable Sir Ralph Mountharten sharply rapped his meerschaum pipe against the surface of his mahogany writing desk.’
      • ‘The biggest surprise was Everett's Holmes: a compelling, brilliant, darkly original character, much closer to the original stories than to the deerstalkers and meerschaums and Basil Rathbone.’
      • ‘Like Dupin, Dr. Bender smokes a meerschaum pipe, filled with cheap tobacco.’
      • ‘You see him nursing a meerschaum pipe.’
      • ‘Well, donning my deerstalker and lighting my meerschaum I'd start at the bottom.’


Late 18th century: from German, literally sea-foam from Meer sea + Schaum foam translation of Persian kef-i-daryā (alluding to the frothy appearance of the silicate).