meerschaum definition by Webster's New World
- a soft, claylike, orthorhombic mineral, Mg(SiO)(OH)·6HO, used to make tobacco pipes and other heat-resistant items; hydrous magnesium silicate; sepiolite
- a pipe with a bowl made of this
Origin: German literally , sea foam (; from meer, sea plush schaum, foam), translated, translation of Midieval Latin spuma maris, origin, originally used of coral, calque of Classical Greek halos hachnē: name transferred in 18th-c. German to a variety of lithomarge
meerschaum definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- A fine, compact, usually white claylike mineral of hydrous magnesium silicate, H4Mg2Si3O10, found in the Mediterranean area and used in fashioning tobacco pipes and as a building stone. Also called sepiolite.
- A tobacco pipe with a bowl made of this mineral.
Origin: German : Meer, sea (from Middle High German mer, from Old High German mari; see mori- in Indo-European roots) + Schaum, foam (from Middle High German schūm, from Old High German scūm; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots).