scrim·​shaw | \ ˈskrim-ˌshȯ How to pronounce scrimshaw (audio) \
scrimshawed; scrimshawing; scrimshaws

Definition of scrimshaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to carve or engrave into scrimshaw

intransitive verb

: to produce scrimshaw



Definition of scrimshaw (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : any of various carved or engraved articles made originally by American whalers usually from baleen or whale ivory
2 : scrimshawed work
3 : the art, practice, or technique of producing scrimshaw

Examples of scrimshaw in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Among them: Ivory tusks, nearly 25 scrimshawed whale teeth, and two mounted walrus skulls, a store employee told the Anchorage Daily News on Saturday. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "APD: Suspect in Native art theft arrested with tusk in car," 9 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Such scrimshaws were often made by New England whalers. Palm Beach Post, USA TODAY, "What did President Donald Trump give Melania Trump for Christmas?," 28 Dec. 2019 Buying walrus tusk carvings or engravings (also known as scrimshaw) is legal—but only if the art was done by Alaska natives. National Geographic, "Snake Wine and Other Wild Souvenirs to Avoid," 14 Apr. 2016

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

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First Known Use of scrimshaw


circa 1821, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


circa 1846, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for scrimshaw


origin unknown

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Time Traveler for scrimshaw

Time Traveler

The first known use of scrimshaw was circa 1821

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Cite this Entry

“Scrimshaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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