n. pl. scrimshaw or scrim·shaws
1. The art of carving or incising intricate designs on the teeth, bones, or baleen of whales.
2. A decorative article made by this art.
v. scrim·shawed, scrim·shaw·ing, scrim·shaws
tr. & intr.v.
To decorate (whale ivory or whalebone) with intricate carvings or designs or make such designs.
[Probably from SCRIMSHANDER.]
(click for a larger image)scrimshaw
scrimshaw on a sperm whale tooth
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.