oa·​kum | \ ˈō-kəm How to pronounce oakum (audio) \

Definition of oakum

: loosely twisted hemp or jute fiber impregnated with tar or a tar derivative and used in caulking seams and packing joints

Examples of oakum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Longtime DIY owners talk about pouring cement between the foundation rocks and buying oakum, sailor's tarry rope, to weave it between the logs to keep the wind out. Janet Eastman, OregonLive.com, "Saving old, handmade cabins, one log at a time: Mount Hood Steiner Cabin Tour (photos)," 6 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oakum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of oakum

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oakum

Middle English okum, from Old English ācumba tow, from ā- (separative & perfective prefix) + -cumba (akin to Old English camb comb) — more at abide

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Dictionary Entries near oakum

oak scale


oak toad



oak wilt


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Time Traveler for oakum

The first known use of oakum was in the 15th century

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oakum

Comments on oakum

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to complain fretfully

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