moth·​er-of-pearl ˌmə-t͟hə-rə(v)-ˈpər(-ə)l How to pronounce mother-of-pearl (audio)
: the hard pearly iridescent substance forming the inner layer of a mollusk shell

Examples of mother-of-pearl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, a necklace set with cubes of diamonds, gray spinels, pink sapphires, and mother-of-pearl is made to evoke your childhood Rubik’s cube game. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 12 June 2024 Meanwhile, its breathtaking hammam, white marble inlaid with mother-of-pearl, taps into Istanbul’s very own spa culture. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, 8 June 2024 Rolex Diamonds adorn both the bezel and the mother-of-pearl dial of the new 40mm Cosmograph Daytona in white gold; $70,100, at Rolex at Gearys, Beverly Hills and Laurie Brookins, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 May 2024 Apart from the signature Leela mother-of-pearl accents seen throughout, recent additions to the property are the four Kovalam Palace suites. Prasad Ramamurthy, Travel + Leisure, 7 May 2024 Meanwhile, Grande sported not one, but two gowns, walking the carpet in a mother-of-pearl dress by Loewe before performing a mini-concert during the gala in an ethereal Maison Margiela Artisanal costume. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 7 May 2024 Grande's strapless Loewe gown features a pleated shirt and mother-of-pearl bodice. Lindsay Kimble, Peoplemag, 7 May 2024 Just take Ariana Grande’s romantic gown by Loewe, which featured a mother-of-pearl bustier and a silk chiffon skirt—perfect for any bride hoping to channel the seemingly unstoppable drop waist wedding dress trend. Vogue, 7 May 2024 According to a jeweler on site, one of the more technically challenging pieces to realize was the Iconic suite—pieces fashioned as a cluster of stars in sapphires, diamonds, platinum, yellow gold, and mother-of-pearl. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 3 May 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mother-of-pearl.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1510, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mother-of-pearl was circa 1510

Dictionary Entries Near mother-of-pearl

Cite this Entry

“Mother-of-pearl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the hard pearly material that lines the shell of some mollusks (as mussels) and is often used for ornamental objects and buttons

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