from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A white, waxy substance consisting of various esters of fatty acids, obtained from the head of the sperm whale or another cetacean and used for making candles, ointments, and cosmetics.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A wax obtained from the head of sperm whales. It is used to make cosmetics etc.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A white waxy substance obtained from cavities in the head of the sperm whale, and used making candles, oilments, cosmetics, etc. It consists essentially of ethereal salts of palmitic acid with ethal and other hydrocarbon bases. The substance of spermaceti after the removal of certain impurities is sometimes called cetin.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A peculiar fatty substance contained in the characteristic adipose tissue of the cavity of the head of the spermwhale or cachalot, Physeter or Catodon macrocephalus, and related cetaceans.
- Pertaining to, derived from, or composed of spermaceti or sperm.
- Producing or yielding spermaceti, as the sperm-whales.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a white waxy substance from oil of the sperm whale
This is made into what you call spermaceti candles.
They were hunted because of spermaceti, which is this oil-like substance, a liquid which is found in the melon, in this part of the whale's body.
Almost the only material used for artificially heightening the apparent proportion of stearoptene is said to be spermaceti, which is easily recognizable from its liability to settle down in a solid cake, and from its melting at 122° Fahr., whereas stearoptene fuses at 91. 4° Fahr.
Candles were also made from spermaceti, which is a substance taken from the head of the sperm whale.
_Spermaceti_: An oily substance found in the head of a species of whale called the spermaceti whale.
_Spermaceti_, an oily substance, found in the head of a species of whale, called the spermaceti whale.
About a quarter of the whale's body is taken up by its massive snout, properly called the spermaceti organ, which is filled with a very fine grade of oil.
The qualities of the oils thus described, it is to be added that an individual has discovered methods 1. of converting a great part of the oil of the spermaceti whale into the solid substance called spermaceti, heretofore produced from his head alone.
In its head is a reservoir of clear liquid called spermaceti, which sets to a dense white wax when cooled to concentrate weight in the head during a dive.
Hunters focused on them because of an oily wax they produce called spermaceti, which was even more valuable than whale oil in the days before petroleum drilling.