Definition of pumice in English:



  • 1A very light and porous volcanic rock formed when a gas-rich froth of glassy lava solidifies rapidly.

    • ‘I went swimming in Lipari; one side of the island is a mountain of pumice.’
    • ‘After that the abuse rained down continually upon the hapless Mr O'Brien, like rocks and pumice from a spluttering volcano.’
    • ‘Rich in pumice, ash, and tuff deposits, the conical formations are the products of explosive volcanic eruptions that occurred between 6 and 7 million years ago.’
    • ‘The tracks are impressed on a volcanic pyroclastic flow (ash, pumice, and rock fragments) deposit and buried under volcanic ash.’
    • ‘The substances known as Pelée's hair and pumice are also grouped with pyroclastic and volcaniclastic rocks.’
    • ‘Kerguelen presented all over the same dreary and desolate appearance, hills and more hills of volcanic pumice, all covered in snow and with a heavy fog that hung continually over the island so that the interior was always obscured.’
    • ‘Ash was now falling on to the ships, darker and denser the closer they went, together with pieces of pumice and rocks that were blackened and shattered by fire.’
    • ‘Pompeii was buried - although not, as we now know, destroyed - when the nearby, supposedly extinct, volcano Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, covering the town and its inhabitants in many tons of pumice and volcanic ash.’
    • ‘About 27 million years ago, in what is now the southeastern corner of Arizona, a volcano spewed out vast amounts of hot ash and pumice that fused into a 2,000-foot layer of rock known as rhyolitic tuff.’
    • ‘We're up on the Plains of Abraham now, a wild, desolate section of pumice through which the trail winds for three miles, slipping through eroded stream beds and across a landscape so stark it makes the moon look lush.’
    • ‘In a Minoan house they found these whole vases, cracked from the volcanic pumice and ash.’
    • ‘We were told at the ‘visitor centre’ that Mt. St. Helens had a ‘Pyroclastic flow’, which is an eruption of volcanic ash and pumice as opposed to molten lava.’
    • ‘The memorable image of Pliny's ships unable to row through a sea filled with floating pumice, brings home the true predicament in which even the most powerful found themselves.’
    • ‘The surface was rough behind my back, like sharp-edged pumice.’
    • ‘Aquatic animals have long used wood, pumice from volcanic eruptions, coconut shells, and the like as mobile homes for transport.’
    • ‘These range from skarns resulting from proximity to felsic intrusive igneous activity to altered limestone volcanic ejecta associated with pumice and other pyroclastic materials.’
    • ‘Coarser fractions additionally contain volcanic clasts of vesicular and porphyritic lava, tuff and pumice.’
    • ‘Shell, pumice, stucco, and marble formed the basic materials, but gradually glass was incorporated also.’
    • ‘There was something strangely soothing about having my Aveda Himalayan treatment in a small cave with walls as porous as pumice and pitted as a peach stone.’
    • ‘He was faced with a monolithic obelisk of pumice with long turquoise strips running along it vertically, the area around it devoid of any tombstones.’
    1. 1.1A piece of porous volcanic rock or a similar substance used as an abrasive, especially for removing hard or callused skin.
      • ‘‘If you use a pumice stone to remove calluses, do so gently and just enough to flake off the dead skin,’ Rosenthal warns.’
      • ‘Dry your feet and gently buff rough areas with a pumice stone.’
      • ‘Her kit includes a cream to exfoliate thickened skin, a pumice stone to smooth calluses, a mask to remove oils and impurities, a copper-based cream to hydrate and a nail rejuvenator to improve discolored toenails.’
      • ‘Rub dead skin off once a week with a pumice stone or emery board.’
      • ‘This is an ideal opportunity to check your feet for any dry skin; it will be easily removed with a normal pumice stone you can purchase from the chemist.’
      • ‘A pumice stone is the best exfoliator, or you can make your own scrub by mixing Epsom salts with a scented oil.’
      • ‘As well, filing the dead skin off your feet with a pumice stone after you come out of the shower will make the skin softer if you do it consistently.’
      • ‘If the white vinegar does not dissolve the whole ring, go to a janitorial supply store or a hardware store and purchase a pumice stone and a stiff toothbrush.’
      • ‘If dead skin builds up around the wart, it might help to trim it away or rub it down gently with a pumice stone.’
      • ‘Oh, and a pumice stone for scaly feet, if they were really conscientious.’
      • ‘Each evening you should rub the wart with a pumice stone or emery board.’
      • ‘Show your feet some love by using a pumice stone in the shower.’
      • ‘Needless to say my hands were the most beautiful shade of turquoise - even after an eternity of scrubbing with a pumice stone and various caustic chemicals.’
      • ‘If problems persist, contact a podiatrist who can sand problem areas with a pumice stone.’
      • ‘A pumice stone or emery board was used to debride the lesions.’
      • ‘Hamilton recommends that dancers soak their feet in the bathtub every two weeks and rub the calluses down with a pumice stone.’
      • ‘I imagine I have rough skin on my heels, as I have never taken a pumice stone to them.’
      • ‘Using a pumice stone, she scraped off the dirt, and once she was done her skin was soft and pink as a baby's.’
      • ‘Use foot file instead of hard pumice stone to remove dead skin which can lead to painful skin irritation.’
      • ‘Patients who present with diffuse hyperkeratotic lesions that are not painful may be advised to use a pumice stone to reduce the lesion after first soaking the foot in warm water.’


  • Rub with pumice to smooth or clean.

    • ‘If they're calloused, does she pumice them and slather them in lotion to make them soft and resilient again?’
    • ‘Your favourite shirt might be fuchsia, or you might have a tendency to file your nails and pumice your feet while you're in the bath.’
    • ‘Shave your legs (if your mom lets you), and pumice the soles of your feet really well, too.’
    • ‘My heel skin is in need of a bit of pumicing, but these sandals don't show heel anyway.’
    • ‘By ignoring that, you come up with something prettied up, pumiced, and packaged.’


Late Middle English: from Old French pomis, from a Latin dialect variant of pumex, pumic-. Compare with pounce.