Loose hemp or jute fiber, sometimes treated with tar, creosote, or asphalt, used chiefly for caulking seams in wooden ships and packing pipe joints. (noun)
American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Use "oakum" in a sentence
"Dutchman, picking to pieces tarred ropes, which, when reduced to its original form of hemp, they call oakum; or else you see him lazily stowed away in some corner, with his pipe, surrounded with smoke, and"
"The planks are jointed at the edges so as to fit close, and the spaces between are stuffed with oakum, which is called calking."
"He saw the prisoners picking "oakum," or untwisting old ropes that had been used in boats, tearing the strands into loose hemp to be afterwards used in caulking the seams between the wood planks on the decks and sides of ships, so as to make them water-tight; and as it was near the prisoners 'dinner-time, he saw the food that had been prepared for their dinner in"