Definition of spermaceti in English:

spermaceti

Line breaks: sperma|ceti
Pronunciation: /ˌspəːməˈsiːti
 
, -ˈsɛti/

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.
    More 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.

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