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ebony

[eb-uh-nee]
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noun, plural eb·on·ies.
  1. 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.
  2. any tree yielding such wood.
  3. any of various similar woods or trees.
  4. a deep, lustrous black.
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adjective
  1. Also ebon. made of ebony.
  2. of a deep, lustrous black.
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Origin of ebony

1590–1600; earlier hebeny; see ebon; -y perhaps after ivory
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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 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.


British Dictionary definitions for ebony

ebony

noun plural -onies
  1. any of various tropical and subtropical trees of the genus Diospyros, esp D. ebenum of S India, that have hard dark wood: family EbenaceaeSee also persimmon
  2. 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
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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

Word Origin and History for ebony

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper