cal·​u·​met | \ ˈkal-yə-ˌmet How to pronounce calumet (audio) , -mət \

Definition of calumet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a highly ornamented ceremonial pipe of the American Indians


geographical name
Cal·​u·​met | \ ˈkal-yə-ˌmet How to pronounce Calumet (audio) , -mət \

Definition of Calumet (Entry 2 of 2)

industrial region of northwestern Indiana and northeastern Illinois southeast of and adjacent to Chicago including the cities of East Chicago, Gary, and Hammond, Indiana, and Calumet City and Lansing, Illinois

Illustration of calumet

Illustration of calumet


In the meaning defined above

Did You Know?

The calumet has long been an important component of the ceremonies of Native American groups, but the first inhabitants of the Americas did not give the venerated pipe (also known as the "peace pipe") that name. English speakers borrowed "calumet" from American French, which had carried it from the dialects of France to North America. "Chalumet," the French ancestor of "calumet," traces to the Latin calamus and the Greek kalamos, both of which mean "reed" or "pen." French baron Louis-Armand de Lom d'Arce La Hontan, who explored North America in the 17th century, noted that French speakers had applied "calumet" to the highly ornamented clay pipes of Native Americans by the 1670s; English speakers followed suit before the turn of that century.

First Known Use of calumet


1698, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for calumet


American French, from French dialect, pipe stem, from Late Latin calamellus, diminutive of Latin calamus reed — more at calamus

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Cite this Entry

“Calumet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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