A cork is a piece of cork or plastic that is pushed into the opening of a bottle to close it. A city of southern Ireland near the head of Cork Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. Cork was occupied by the Danes in the ninth century and by Oliver Cromwell in 1649. Population: 127,253. to close a bottle by blocking the hole at the top tightly with a long round piece of cork uncork. Seaport city (pop., 2002 prelim.: 123,338), southwestern Ireland. The seat of County Cork, it is situated on Cork Harbour at the mouth of the River Lee. Founded as a monastery in the 7th century, it was often raided and was eventually settled by the Danes. It passed to Henry II of England in 1172. The city was taken by Parliamentarian forces under Oliver Cromwell (1649) and by the duke of Marlborough (1690). It was heavily damaged in 1920 during the Irish uprising against England. Its industries include leatherworking, brewing, and distilling. Outer bark of the evergreen cork oak (Quercus suber), native to the Mediterranean. In its broad sense, cork consists of the irregularly shaped, thin-walled, wax-coated cells that make up the peeling bark of many trees, but commercially only cork-oak bark is called cork. Cork is obtained from the new outer sheath of bark that forms after the original rough outer bark has been removed. This outer sheath can be stripped repeatedly without hurting the tree. Cork is unique because it is made of air-filled, watertight cells that are a remarkably effective insulating medium. The air pockets make cork very light in weight. Though specialized plastics and other artificial substances have replaced cork in some of its former uses, it has retained its traditional importance as a stopper for bottles of wine and other alcoholic beverages
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