ivory

ivorylike, adj.
/uy"veuh ree, uy"vree/, n., pl. ivories, adj.
n.
1. the hard white substance, a variety of dentin, composing the main part of the tusks of the elephant, walrus, etc.
2. this substance when taken from a dead animal and used to make carvings, billiard balls, etc.
3. some substance resembling this.
4. an article made of this substance, as a carving or a billiard ball.
5. a tusk, as of an elephant.
6. dentin of any kind.
7. Slang. a tooth, or the teeth.
8. ivories, Slang.
a. the keys of a piano or of a similar keyboard instrument.
b. dice.
9. Also called vegetable ivory. the hard endosperm of the ivory nut, used for ornamental purposes, for buttons, etc.
10. a creamy or yellowish white.
11. a smooth paper finish produced by coating with beeswax before calendering.
adj.
12. consisting or made of ivory.
13. of the color ivory.
[1250-1300; ME < OF ivurie < L eboreus (adj.), equiv. to ebor- (s. of ebur) ivory + -eus adj. suffix; see -EOUS]

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I
Hard white substance, a variety of dentin, that makes up the tusks of such animals as elephants, walruses, and preserved mammoths.

It is prized for its beauty, durability, and suitability for carving. In ancient times it was treasured as highly as gold and precious stones. Most ivory used commercially once came from Africa; sales of ivory declined in the 20th century as the populations of African elephants shrank, and worldwide concern about endangered elephant populations have led to bans on the export and import of ivory. The once-thriving markets of Europe have shifted to South Asia, where skilled artisans, often trading illegally, carve ivory into figurines and other objects.
II
(as used in expressions)
Ivory James Francis
ivory billed woodpecker

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      variety of dentin of which the tusk of the elephant is composed, prized for its beauty, durability, and suitability for carving. The tusk is the upper incisor and continues to grow throughout the lifetime of the male and female African elephant and of the male Indian elephant; the female Indian elephant has no tusks or small ones. The teeth of the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, sperm whale, and some types of wild boar and warthog are recognized as ivory but have little commercial value because of their small size. Elephant tusks from Africa average about 6 feet (2 m) in length and weigh about 50 pounds (23 kg) each; tusks from Asian elephants are somewhat smaller. The elephant's tusk grows in layers, the inside layer being the last produced. About a third of the tusk is embedded in the bone sockets of the animal's skull. The head end of the tusk has a hollow cavity that runs for some distance along its interior, but the tusk gradually becomes entirely solid, with only a narrow nerve channel running through its centre to the tip of the tusk.

      There are two main types of elephant ivory, hard and soft. Hard ivory generally comes from elephants in the western half of Africa, soft ivory from those in the eastern half. A hard ivory tusk is darker in colour and is more slender and straighter in form than a soft tusk. Internally, a hard tusk has more colour and is more brittle than a soft tusk, which is an opaque white and has a somewhat fibrous texture.

      Ivory is a very durable material and is not easily damaged or destroyed; it will not burn and is very little affected by immersion in water. Ivory is similar to a hard wood in some of its properties. It is quite dense, it polishes beautifully, and it is easily worked with woodworking tools. Most of the ivory used commercially comes from Africa, but commercial sales of ivory have declined since the 19th and the early 20th centuries because of the shrinking numbers of African elephants. The once-flourishing ivory markets of Europe have largely shifted to South and East Asia, where skilled artisans still carve ivory into figurines and other aesthetic objects. The white tops of piano keys (“ivories”) and white billiard balls were formerly made of ivory, but these objects are now made of plastics or other synthetic materials. See also ivory carving. (ivory carving)

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ivory — is formed from dentine and constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals such as the elephant, hippopotamus, walrus, mammoth and narwhal.The word ivory was traditionally applied to the tusks of elephants; the word is ultimately from… …   Wikipedia

  • Ivory — • The tusks of the elephant, hippopotamus, walrus, and other animals: a tough and elastic substance, of a creamy white, taking a high and lasting polish, largely employed in the arts since pre historic times, and used extensively in making or… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Ivory — I vo*ry ([imac] v[ o]*r[y^]), n.; pl. {Ivories}. [OE. ivori, F. ivoire, fr. L. eboreus made of ivory, fr. ebur, eboris, ivory, cf. Skr. ibha elephant. Cf. {Eburnean}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The hard, white, opaque, fine grained substance constituting …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ivory — [ī′vər ē, ī′vrē] n. pl. ivories [ME < OFr yvoire < L eboreus (adj.) < ebur (gen. eboris), ivory < Egypt Ȝ bw, elephant, ivory] 1. the hard, white substance, a form of dentin, that makes up the tusks of elephants, walruses, etc. 2. a)… …   English World dictionary

  • Ivory — ist der Name von Personen und Ortschaften: James Ivory (* 1928), US amerikanischer Filmregisseur. James Ivory (Mathematiker) (* 17. Februar 1765; † 21. September 1842), schottischer Mathematiker. Ivory (Jura), Gemeinde im französischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ivory — (en inglés: Marfil) puede referirse a: Ivory, comuna de Jura, Francia; Ivory (2006), canción de la banda japonesa Dragon Ash; Ivory Tower (1986), canción de Van Morrison; Ivory (1961 ), nombre artístico de la luchadora Lisa Moretti (:w:en); …   Wikipedia Español

  • ivory — mid 13c. (late 12c. as a surname), Anglo Fr. ivorie, from O.N.Fr. ivurie (12c.), from L. eboreus of ivory, from ebur (gen. eboris) ivory, probably via Phoenician from an African source (Cf. Egyptian ab elephant, Coptic ebu ivory ). Replaced O.E.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • ivory — ► NOUN (pl. ivories) 1) a hard creamy white substance composing the main part of the tusks of an elephant, walrus, or narwhal. 2) the creamy white colour of ivory. 3) (the ivories) informal the keys of a piano. 4) (ivories) informal a person s… …   English terms dictionary

  • Ivory —   [ aɪvərɪ], James, amerikanischer Filmregisseur, * Berkeley (Calif.) 7. 6. 1928; arbeitete ab 1963 in Indien, nach 1970 wieder in den USA; wurde bekannt mit Gesellschaftsdramen, die meist auf literarische Vorlagen beruhen.   Filme: Die Europäer… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • ivory — n. (pl. ies) 1 a hard creamy white substance composing the main part of the tusks of an elephant, hippopotamus, walrus, and narwhal. 2 the colour of this. 3 (usu. in pl.) a an article made of ivory. b sl. anything made of or resembling ivory, esp …   Useful english dictionary

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