1. Any of several copper and zinc or tin alloys resembling gold in appearance and used to ornament furniture, moldings, architectural details, and jewelry.
2. An imitation of gold.
[French or moulu : or, gold (from Old French; see OR3) + obsolete French molu, past participle of moudre, to grind up (from Old French, from Latin molere; see melə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
(click for a larger image)ormolu
porcelain pitcher with ormolu embellishment
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.