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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Nacre \Na"cre\ (n[=a]"k[~e]r), n. [F., cf. Sp. n['a]cara, n['a]car, It. nacchera, naccaro, LL. nacara, nacrum; of Oriental origin, cf. Ar. nak[=i]r hollowed.] (Zo["o]l.) A pearly substance which lines the interior of many shells, and is most perfect in the mother-of-pearl. [Written also nacker and naker.] See Pearl, and Mother-of-pearl.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1590s, "type of shellfish that yields mother-of-pearl," from Middle French nacre (14c.), from Italian naccaro (now nacchera), possibly from Arabic naqur "hunting horn" (from nakara "to hollow out"), in reference to the shape of the mollusk shell. Meaning "mother-of-pearl" is from 1718.


n. 1 (context obsolete English) A shellfish which contains mother-of-pearl. (16th-19th c.) 2 A pearly substance which lines the interior of many shells; mother-of-pearl. (from 17th c.)


a. (cx arts English) Having an iridescence like that of nacre, or mother-of-pearl.


n. the iridescent internal layer of a mollusk shell [syn: mother-of-pearl]


Nacre ( also ), also known as mother of pearl, is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some molluscs as an inner shell layer; it also makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is strong, resilient, and iridescent.

Nacre is found in some of the most ancient lineages of bivalves, gastropods, and cephalopods. However, the inner layer in the great majority of mollusc shells is porcellaneous, not nacreous, and this usually results in a non-iridescent shine, or more rarely in non-nacreous iridescence such as flame structure as is found in conch pearls.

The outer layer of pearls and the inside layer of pearl oyster and freshwater pearl mussel shells are made of nacre. Other mollusc families that have a nacreous inner shell layer include marine gastropods such as the Haliotidae, the Trochidae and the Turbinidae.

Usage examples of "nacre".

Some were garbed in fantastic armor, which had been wrought in the time since the fateful day of the Closingharnesses whose lamellae gleamed with the sheen of nacre or emerald, with the polish of lamplight flaring on snow, of starlight dancing on water, of moonlight imaged in ice or sunset reflected in steel.

Sixth, Daal of feared and blood-soaked Uldune, looked at the exquisite little jewel box inset with chalcosites and pieces of peacock-blue Lepida Pua nacre.

So did he take fruit of every color, never suspecting that the red ones might be rubies, carbuncles, hyacinths, corals, or camelians, nor the white ones diamonds, pearls, nacre, or moonstones, nor the green ones emeralds, beryls, jade, prase, or aquamarine, not to mention those many varieties of blue, violet, yellow, and various unknown colors and the fact that they might be sapphires, lapis, turquoise, amethysts, jaspers, topaz, amber, agates, opals, hematite, tourmaline, peridot, and chrysoprase.

And at the far end, the Nacre landscape Aquilon had painted, at last in the appropriate company.

Nacre power spat and frothed, pale as air and ruinous as magma, shedding blackness like glimpses into the heart of the Lost Deep.

The room was the best furnished in the house, with embroidered red hangings, four seven-branched candelabra of gilt bronze, a table of teakwood carven in foliate patterns and inlaid with nacre, the ware upon it of silver or the finest glass.

She, like Veg, seemed to have become inured to a certain extent to personal danger-and Paleo so far, was as safe as Nacre had been.

They had worked together long enough on Nacre, and now on Paleo, to know almost intuitively when life depended on instant cooperation.

Mantle from an oyster with pink nacre on its inner shell will produce a pink pearl, even if it’.

Strictly speaking, all the creatures of Nacre had been herbivorous until man arrived there, since there had been no animal kingom to prey on.

Dimmed by the optics to mere moon brightness, so that corona and zodiacal light shone at their natural luminosities like nacre, that disc still drove most of the distant suns out of a watcher's eye.