- 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
- 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 for alabaster
1590s, from Medieval Latin alabastrinus, from alabaster (see 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].