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[al-uh-bas-ter, -bah-ster] /ˈæl əˌbæs tər, -ˌbɑ stər/
a finely granular variety of gypsum, often white and translucent, used for ornamental objects or work, such as lamp bases, figurines, etc.
Also called Oriental alabaster. a variety of calcite, often banded, used or sold as alabaster.
adjective, Also, alabastrine
[al-uh-bas-trin] /ˌæl əˈbæs trɪn/ (Show IPA)
made of alabaster:
an alabaster column.
resembling alabaster; smooth and white:
her alabaster throat.
Origin of alabaster
1350-1400; < Latin < Greek alábastros; replacing Middle English alabastre < Middle French < Latin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for alabaster
Historical Examples
  • It was used in windows, though by no means exclusively, mica, alabaster and shells having been also employed.

  • I should be in the alabaster Hall, waiting till Charmion came forth.

    Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
  • We trust the alabaster lady has by now regained her property and with it her marmoreal calm.

  • Dost forget how nigh thou wast to death there in the alabaster Hall?

    Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
  • In the centre, and side by side, were two alabaster slabs, each about seven feet long by three in width.

    Pharos, The Egyptian Guy Newell Boothby
  • The unknown had hidden her face in her hands, which were white as alabaster.

    The Man in the Iron Mask Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • His pale blue eyes, thin lips and alabaster skin gave him a delicate look—one belied by his record.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
  • An arbalist or cross-bow man; also the corruption of alabaster.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Mrs. Puffit put her lace upon the alabaster neck of the large doll which stood in the middle of her shop.

  • The head of the magistrate was half hidden by the paper, his brow was like alabaster.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for alabaster


/ˈæləˌbɑːstə; -ˌbæstə/
a fine-grained usually white, opaque, or translucent variety of gypsum used for statues, vases, etc
a variety of hard semitranslucent calcite, often banded like marble
of or resembling alabaster
Derived Forms
alabastrine, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French alabastre, from Latin alabaster, from Greek alabastros
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for alabaster

translucent whitish kind of gypsum used for vases, ornaments, and busts, late 14c., from Old French alabastre (12c., Modern French albâtre), from Latin alabaster "colored rock used to make boxes and vessels for unguents," from Greek alabastros (earlier albatos) "vase for perfumes," perhaps from Egyptian 'a-labaste "vessel of the goddess Bast." Used figuratively for whiteness and smoothness from 1570s. "The spelling in 16-17th c. is almost always alablaster ..." [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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