calumet

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noun cal·u·met \ˈkal-yə-ˌmet, -mət\

Definition of calumet

  1. :  a highly ornamented ceremonial pipe of the American Indians

calumet was our Word of the Day on 11/27/2010. Hear the podcast!

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.

Illustration of calumet

Origin and Etymology of calumet

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


Calumet

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geographical name Cal·u·met \ˈkal-yə-ˌmet, -mət\

Definition of Calumet

  1. 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


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