ambergris

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ambergris

(ăm`bərgrēs), waxlike substance originating as a morbid concretion in the intestine of the sperm whale. Lighter than water, it is found floating on tropical seas or cast up on the shore in yellow, gray, black, or variegated masses, usually a few ounces in weight, though pieces weighing several hundred pounds have been found. Ambergris has been greatly valued from earliest times. It is now used as a fixative in perfumes. Its active principle is ambrein, a crystalline alcohol with the empirical formula C30H51OH.

Bibliography

See C. Kemp, Floating Gold (2012).

ambergris

[′am·bə‚gris]
(physiology)
A fatty substance formed in the intestinal tract of the sperm whale; used in the manufacture of perfume.

ambergris

a waxy substance consisting mainly of cholesterol secreted by the intestinal tract of the sperm whale and often found floating in the sea: used in the manufacture of perfumes