Definitions

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

  • n. See mother-of-pearl.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A pearly substance which lines the interior of many shells, and is most perfect in the mother-of-pearl.
  • adj. Having the peculiar iridescence of nacre, or mother-of-pearl, or an iridescence resembling it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Mother-of-pearl.
  • Having an iridescence resembling that of mother-of-pearl; nacreous: a French word applied in English to decorative objects: as, nacré porcelain.

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

  • n. the iridescent internal layer of a mollusk shell

Etymologies

French, from Old French nacle, from Old Italian naccaro, drum, nacre, from Arabic naqqāra, small drum, from naqara, to bore, pierce; see nqr in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French nacre, from Late Latin nacchara, perhaps from Arabic نقر (naqqāra). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The animal then secretes a calcium substance called nacre to protect itself.

    Boutique Week: Boutique of the Week: Bourdage Pearls, Chicago

  • The particle is an irritant, which causes the oyster to produce a lacquer-like substance called nacre.

    Daily Readings from Love Your Life

  • Three decades earlier, Kokichi Mikimoto, the son of a noodle maker in Toba, Japan, had perfected a method to culture pearls, the process by which a bead or piece of mantle tissue is implanted inside the fleshy part of a mollusk, forcing the creature to secrete an iridescent substance called nacre that forms a pearl.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The inside shells of oysters and other shell-forming mollusks are covered with a shiny, lustrous substance called nacre, or mother-of-pearl.

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  • Natural pearls are born quite by chance when the oyster can’t get rid of some particle inside and coats it with layer upon layer of a smooth, hard substance called nacre.

    Willow

  • Links of London bracelet the pearls are formed when an irritant, such as a small parasite or a fish lodges in the flesh of an oyster, mussel, or clam; links the protective substance produced by the mollusk is called "nacre".

    VInvesting.com

  • If an oyster gets an irritating object—a rock or your brother-in-law Lamar Gene—trapped within its mollusk mantle folds, it secretes nacre around it to make its existence more bearable.

    Writer's Block? Get Nacreous!

  • Just like that oyster covers that irritant with nacre, so we must cover offenses with love and grace in order to protect our hearts from being damaged.

    Daily Readings from Love Your Life

  • The oyster secretes the nacre over that irritant as a way of protecting itself.

    Daily Readings from Love Your Life

  • Those smooth layers of nacre coat the sand granule, eventually sealing off the irritation and forming a gorgeous pearl.

    Daily Readings from Love Your Life

Comments

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  • As history unveiled itself in the new order, man's mind had behaved like a young pearl oyster, secreting its universe to suit its conditions until it had built up a shell of nacre that embodied all its notions of the perfect.
    The Education of Henry Adams, 1906

    November 8, 2007