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[eb-uh-nee] /ˈɛb ə ni/
noun, plural ebonies.
a hard, heavy, durable wood, most highly prized when black, from various tropical trees of the genus Diospyros, as D. ebenum of southern India and Sri Lanka, used for cabinetwork, ornamental objects, etc.
any tree yielding such wood.
any of various similar woods or trees.
a deep, lustrous black.
Also, ebon. made of ebony.
of a deep, lustrous black.
Origin of ebony
1590-1600; earlier hebeny; see ebon; -y perhaps after ivory Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ebony
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In other words, though carved in ebony, he also was in the image of God.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since Charles Francis Adams
  • He was looking at a faded picture in an ebony frame which hung by the side of the bed.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • The sleepers of the Monterey and Mexican Gulf railway are nearly all of ebony.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • Their panels of ebony were decorated with bronze applications in the centre.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • One suit was inlaid with enamel, black as ebony, and the other with red gold.

    If You Touch Them They Vanish Gouverneur Morris
British Dictionary definitions for ebony


noun (pl) -onies
any of various tropical and subtropical trees of the genus Diospyros, esp D. ebenum of S India, that have hard dark wood: family Ebenaceae See also persimmon
the wood of such a tree, much used for cabinetwork
  1. a black colour, sometimes with a dark olive tinge
  2. (as adjective): an ebony skin
Word Origin
C16 hebeny, from Late Latin ebeninus from Greek ebeninos, from ebenos ebony, of Egyptian origin
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 ebony

1590s, from hebenyf (late 14c.), perhaps a Middle English misreading of Latin hebeninus "of ebony," from Greek ebeninos, from ebenos "ebony," probably from Egyptian hbnj or another Semitic source. Figurative use to suggest intense blackness is from 1620s. As an adjective, from 1590s. French ébène, Old High German ebenus (German Ebenholz) are from Latin ebenus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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