Definition of spermaceti in English:

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spermaceti

Pronunciation: /ˌspəːməˈsiːti/
/ˌspəːməˈsɛti/

noun

[mass noun]
A white waxy substance produced by the sperm whale, formerly used in candles and ointments. It is present in a rounded organ in the head, where it focuses acoustic signals and aids in the control of buoyancy.
Example sentences
  • In Bénard cells, which also form on the surface of the sun, the organizing gradient is literally a temperature gradient across a viscous fluid, sometimes spermaceti, sperm whale oil.
  • Some ziphiids are pursued by whalers for their oil and spermaceti.
  • Still, whale-related products remained in high demand, especially the fine oil derived from spermaceti (the oil extracted from the head of sperm whales).

Origin

Late 15th century: from medieval Latin, from late Latin sperma 'sperm' + ceti 'of a whale' (genitive of cetus, from Greek kētos 'whale'), from the belief that it was whale spawn.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sperma|ceti

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