The bony material found in the tusks of different animals. The ivory of elephants is very popular, and was used in jewelry, inlay and piano keys. The sale of ivory is now illegal because of the endangered state of Africa's elephant population. This has led to a booming poaching and smuggling industry.

A brand name of soap products owned by Procter and Gamble. Ivory was made famous because its bars of soap floated in water. The process of making soap float was a complete accident, as an employee had messed up and was leaving the soap in a certain machine too long. Soon people were sending letters saying that they dropped their soap in the shower, but were able to recover it right away because it floated unlike before. A little investigation finally turned up the cause of the floating soap, and Ivory started to market their soap as the only one that would float in water. Today they make many other products.

Ivory, or outer enamel, is poached excessively in Central Africa. Ivory almost distinctively references elephant tusks, the word itself is derived from Ancient Egyptian âb, âbu "elephant.” Japan, and recently now China, are the only two countries that have been allowed to legally purchase ivory from government stockpiles from certain African countries. There won’t be another legal sale of ivory for nine years.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), recently voted to allow sales into China. CITES includes: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. They have stockpiles of elephant ivory in the amount of tons. “South Africa declared the largest amount, making 51 tonnes available, while Botswana's stockpile was almost 44 tonnes. The other two countries declared much smaller amounts; Namibia total was just under 10 tonnes, and Zimbabwe stockpile was almost four tonnes.” (BBC)


I"vo*ry (?), n.; pl. Ivories (#). [OE. ivori, F. ivoire, fr. L. eboreus made of ivory, fr. ebur, eboris, ivory, cf. Skr. ibha elephant. Cf. Eburnean.]


The hard, white, opaque, fine-grained substance constituting the tusks of the elephant. It is a variety of dentine, characterized by the minuteness and close arrangement of the tubes, as also by their double flexure. It is used in manufacturing articles of ornament or utility.

Ivory is the name commercially given not only to the substance constituting the tusks of the elephant, but also to that of the tusks of the hippopotamus and walrus, the hornlike tusk of the narwhal, etc.


The tusks themselves of the elephant, etc.


Any carving executed in ivory.


4. pl.

Teeth; as, to show one's ivories.


Ivory black. See under Black, n. -- Ivory gull Zool., a white Arctic gull (Larus eburneus). -- Ivory nut Bot., the nut of a species of palm, the Phytephas macroarpa, often as large as a hen's egg. When young the seed contains a fluid, which gradually hardness into a whitish, close-grained, albuminous substance, resembling the finest ivory in texture and color, whence it is called vegetable ivory. It is wrought into various articles, as buttons, chessmen, etc. The palm is found in New Grenada. A smaller kind is the fruit of the Phytephas microarpa. The nuts are known in commerce as Corosso nuts. -- Ivory palm Bot., the palm tree which produces ivory nuts. -- Ivory shell Zool., any species of Eburna, a genus of marine gastropod shells, having a smooth surface, usually white with red or brown spots. -- Vegetable ivory, the meat of the ivory nut. See Ivory nut (above).


© Webster 1913.

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