Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A transparent, almost pure gelatin prepared from the air bladder of the sturgeon and certain other fishes and used as an adhesive and a clarifying agent.
  • n. Mica in thin, transparent sheets.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A form of gelatine obtained from the air bladder of the sturgeon and certain other fish, used as an adhesive and as a clarifying agent for wine and beer.
  • n. A thin, transparent sheet of mica.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A semitransparent, whitish, and very pure form of gelatin, chiefly prepared from the sounds or air bladders of various species of sturgeons (as the Acipenser huso) found in the rivers of Western Russia. It used for making jellies, as a clarifier, etc. Cheaper forms of gelatin are not unfrequently so called. Called also fish glue.
  • n. A popular name for mica, especially when in thin sheets.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The purest commercial form of gelatin, a substance of firm texture and whitish color, prepared from the sounds or air-bladders of certain fresh-water fishes.
  • n. Mica: so called from its resemblance to some forms of the gelatin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various minerals consisting of hydrous silicates of aluminum or potassium etc. that crystallize in forms that allow perfect cleavage into very thin leaves; used as dielectrics because of their resistance to electricity

Etymologies

By folk etymology (influenced by glass) from obsolete Dutch huizenblas, from Middle Dutch hūsblase : hūs, sturgeon + blase, bladder.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Apparently from obsolete Dutch huisenblas, German Hausenblase ("sturgeon's bladder"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Heehee.

    July 14, 2009

  • "There is almost no waste to a cod.... The air bladder, or sound, a long tube against the backbone that can fill or release gas to adjust swimming depth, is rendered to make isinglass, which is used industrially as a clarifying agent and in some glues..."
    —Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (New York: Penguin, 1997), 34

    P.S. the ad on this page right now: "Petrossian. Since 1920. There are many options with caviar. Choose the best."

    July 14, 2009

  • ...In case there's a change in the weather.

    A favourite song.

    December 29, 2008

  • ...from the unmarred dead body of the whale, you may scrape off with your hand an infinitely thin, transparent substance, somewhat resembling the thinnest shreds of isinglass...

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 68

    July 26, 2008

  • Good for making curtains that will roll right down...

    October 21, 2007

  • A transparent, almost pure gelatin prepared from the air bladder of the sturgeon and certain other fishes and used as an adhesive and a clarifying agent.

    1528, said to be perversion of Du. huysenblas, lit. "sturgeon bladder," from huysen "sturgeon" + blas "bladder;" so called because the substance was obtained from it.

    October 20, 2007