Definition of oakum in English:


Syllabification: oa·kum
Pronunciation: /ˈōkəm


chiefly historical
Loose fiber obtained by untwisting old rope, used especially in caulking wooden ships.
More example sentences
  • Remember to use a filler, like oakum, for wide joints before you caulk.
  • You are losing daylight quickly, picking at the tough fibers that hold the fruit together, unable to separate them as if they were strands of oakum waiting to be picked and untwisted by slaves.
  • Even with the 20 th-century ‘improvements,’ the aluminum wiring was a fire hazard, the potable water supply plumbing was soldered with lead, and the waste lines were hand-tamped with oakum and lead.


Old English ācumbe, literally 'off-combings' The current sense dates from Middle English.

Definition of oakum in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day meretricious
Pronunciation: merəˈtriSHəs
apparently attractive but having in reality no value...