Definition of scrimshaw in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈskrɪmʃɔː/


[with object]
Adorn ivory or shells with carved or coloured designs: (as adjective scrimshawed) the scrimshawed jewellery and antique furniture on sale
More example sentences
  • While he was scrimshawing it, he was reminded of a puzzling question which of course I don't know the answer to.
  • Some sea shells, such as abalone, have been scrimshawed and horn, particularly cattle horn, is also scrimshawed.
  • It has been scrimshawed and carved by the hand of this talented carver.


[mass noun]
Scrimshawed ivory or shells: a collection of scrimshaw
More example sentences
  • While collectors do appreciate the potential investment value of scrimshaw, that is not usually their primary reason for acquiring it.
  • In their leisure time, though, whalemen often practised the art of scrimshaw, creating unique and beautiful works of art as well as practical and useful tools and implements.
  • Nonetheless, there were interesting antique collectibles bought, such as scrimshaw you see once and don't see again.


Early 19th century: of unknown origin; perhaps influenced by the surname Scrimshaw.

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