What does oakum mean?

Definitions for oakumˈoʊ kəm

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word oakum.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. oakum(noun)

    loose hemp or jute fiber obtained by unravelling old ropes; when impregnated with tar it was used to caulk seams and pack joints in wooden ships


  1. oakum(Noun)

    A material, consisting of tarred fibres, used to caulk or pack joints in plumbing, masonry, and wooden shipbuilding.

  2. Origin: From okome, from acumba, a derivative of acemban, from uz- + kambijanan, from uds- + ǵombʰ-. More at out, comb.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Oakum(noun)

    the material obtained by untwisting and picking into loose fiber old hemp ropes; -- used for calking the seams of ships, stopping leaks, etc

  2. Oakum(noun)

    the coarse portion separated from flax or hemp in nackling

  3. Origin: [AS. cumba; pref. - (cf. G. er-, Goth. us-, orig. meaning, out) + cemban to comb, camb comb. See Comb.]


  1. Oakum

    Oakum is a preparation of tarred fiber used in shipbuilding, for caulking or packing the joints of timbers in wooden vessels and the deck planking of iron and steel ships, as well as cast iron pipe plumbing applications. Oakum was at one time recycled from old tarry ropes and cordage, which were painstakingly unraveled and taken apart into fiber; this task of picking and preparation was a common penal occupation in prisons and workhouses. In modern times, the fibrous material used in oakum is derived from virgin hemp or jute. The fibers are impregnated with tar or a tar-like substance, traditionally pine tar, an amber-colored pitch made from pine sap. Petroleum byproducts can be utilized for a tar-like substance that can also be used for modern oakum. White oakum is made from untarred material.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Oakum

    ōk′um, n. old ropes untwisted and teased into loose hemp for caulking the seams of ships. [A.S. ácumba, ǽcembacemban, to comb.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Oakum

    name given to fibres of old tarry ropes sundered by teasing, and employed in caulking the seams between planks in ships; the teasing of oakum is an occupation for prisoners in jails.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of oakum in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of oakum in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Images & Illustrations of oakum

  1. oakumoakumoakum

Translations for oakum

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for oakum »


Find a translation for the oakum definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these oakum definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"oakum." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/oakum>.

Are we missing a good definition for oakum? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for oakum:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.