from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A pearly substance which lines the interior of many shells, and is most perfect in the mother-of-pearl.
  • adjective (Art) Having the peculiar iridescence of nacre, or mother-of-pearl, or an iridescence resembling it.

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

  • noun the iridescent internal layer of a mollusk shell


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

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French nacre, from Late Latin nacchara, perhaps from Arabic نقر (naqqāra).


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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