spermaceti

noun
sper·ma·ce·ti | \ˌspər-mə-ˈsē-tē, -ˈse-\

Definition of spermaceti 

: a waxy solid obtained from the oil of cetaceans and especially from a closed cavity in the heads of sperm whales and used especially formerly in ointments, cosmetics, and candles

Examples of spermaceti in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The family of Walden author Henry David Thoreau, for instance, mixed graphite with bayberry wax or spermaceti, a wax from sperm whales commonly used to make candles at the time. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Write Stuff: How the Humble Pencil Conquered the World," 16 Aug. 2016

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

First Known Use of spermaceti

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spermaceti

Middle English sperma cete, from Medieval Latin sperma ceti whale sperm

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spermaceti

Share spermaceti

Dictionary Entries near spermaceti

sperling

sperm-

sperm

spermaceti

spermaduct

-spermae

spermagone

Statistics for spermaceti

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spermaceti

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spermaceti

spermaceti

noun
sper·ma·ce·ti | \ˌspər-mə-ˈsēt-ē, -ˈset- \

Medical Definition of spermaceti 

: a waxy solid obtained from the oil of cetaceans and especially sperm whales and used especially formerly in pharmacology as a constituent of ointments

More from Merriam-Webster on spermaceti

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spermaceti

Comments on spermaceti

What made you want to look up spermaceti? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!