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(Chemistry) a type of plastic or celluloid that resembles amber, coral, or tortoise shell and is used in jewellery, combs, or other objects
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
The second edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary (1959) says it was the original name for Celluloid. The 1940 Merck Index indicates that celluloid and zylonite are the same. An early-twentieth-century dictionary says zylonite (Xylonite) is similar to celluloid and is made from pyroxylin. The 1895 Montgomery Ward Catalog lists both celluloid and zylonite harness rings, which implies that they were different (although they might be of the same material but from different manufacturers).
1001 Words and Phrases You Never Knew You Didn’t Know by W.R. Runyan Copyright © 2011 by W.R. Runyan