ivory


ivory
[13] As is hardly surprising, ivory goes back ultimately to an African word which meant both ‘ivory’ and ‘elephant’. A likely candidate as this source is Egyptian āb, which may well lie behind Latin ebur ‘ivory’. This passed into English via Old French ivurie. The expression ivory tower ‘place where reality is evaded’ is a translation of French tour d’ivoire. This was originally used in 1837 by the French critic Sainte-Beuve with reference to the poet Alfred de Vigny, whom he accused of excessive aloofness from the practicalities of the world. The English version is first recorded in 1911.
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   The hard white substance found in elephant tusks derives its name from Latin ebur in the same sense. The Latin word is related to Greek elephas, meaning both 'ivory' and 'elephant,' so that the English word is itself indirectly related to the animal's name.

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

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  • 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 — 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 …   Universalium

  • 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