- 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.
- made of alabaster: an alabaster column.
- resembling alabaster; smooth and white: her alabaster throat.
Origin of alabaster
Examples from the Web for alabaster
I have a little heathen god—Gautama; alabaster—and a mummied cat.The Bacillus of Beauty
If by any accident, marble or alabaster happen to be broken, it may be strongly cemented together in the following manner.
The head of the magistrate was half hidden by the paper, his brow was like alabaster.Lord Jim
At one end there will be sure to be the image of the teacher, wrought in alabaster.The Soul of a People
A lovely figure, as white and almost as clear as alabaster, was lying on the bed.At the Back of the North Wind
- 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
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].