Definition of oakum :
1. The coarse portion separated from flax or hemp in nackling.
2. The material obtained by untwisting and picking into loose fiber old hemp ropes; - used for calking the seams of ships, stopping leaks, etc.
- While some of the crew were clearing away the masts, which were striking with every surge against the ship's side, tearing off the copper, and, as the oakum washed out, increasing the leaks, others, encouraged by their officers, were labouring at the pumps, while a third party was endeavouring to bale out the water with buckets. - "Paddy Finn", W. H. G. Kingston.
- Four pounds of oakum is a great task to an expert and an old hand. - "In-Darkest-England-and-the-Way-Out", Booth, William.
- Their masts were bound about with oakum, or pieces of fazeled ropes, and armed against all shot. - "The Sea: Its Stirring Story of Adventure, Peril, & Heroism. Volume 1", Frederick Whymper.