- metamorphosed limestone, consisting chiefly of recrystallized calcite or dolomite, capable of taking a high polish, occurring in a wide range of colors and variegations and used in sculpture and architecture.
- any variety of this stone: Carrara marble.
- an object made of or carved from this stone, especially a sculpture: Renaissance marbles.
- a piece of this stone: the fallen marbles of Roman ruins.
- (not in technical use) any of various breccias or other stones that take a high polish and show a variegated pattern.
- a marbled appearance or pattern; marbling: The woodwork had a greenish marble.
- anything resembling marble in hardness, coldness, smoothness, etc.: a brow of marble.
- something lacking in warmth or feeling.
- a little ball made of stone, baked clay, glass, porcelain, agate, or steel, especially for use in games.
- marbles, (used with a singular verb) a game for children in which a marble is propelled by the thumb to hit another marble so as to drive it out of a circle drawn or scratched on the ground.
- marbles, Slang. normal rational faculties; sanity; wits; common sense: to have all one's marbles; to lose one's marbles.
- consisting or made of marble.
- like marble, as in hardness, coldness, smoothness, etc.
- lacking in warmth, compassion, or sympathy: marble heart.
- of variegated or mottled color.
- to color or stain like variegated marble.
- to apply a decorative pattern to (paper, the edges of a book, etc.) by transferring oil pigments floating on water.
Origin of marble
Examples from the Web for marbles
Pat Robertson has lost his marbles, seemingly, and after him, who?The Religious Right’s Slow-Motion Suicide
September 29, 2014
This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.Waterloo
June 28, 2012
Video of the siege shows some of the passengers armed with marbles and slingshots.Israel's Outrageous Claims
May 28, 2010
That can never happen while the marbles are being held hostage in London.
Linda Yablonsky tours the ancient treasures and revisits the debate of how the Parthenon lost its marbles.
Give him the freedom of the yard and street,--give him marbles, a ball, the skates!
Her white and pink flesh excited as much admiration as the marbles.The Fat and the Thin
The Derbyshire marbles are quarried all about, and mosaic manufacture is carried on.England, Picturesque and Descriptive
There are rare mosaics and fragments of bronzes and marbles yet remaining.Italy, the Magic Land
Never mind, Corny dear, I'll buy a bag of marbles for you at Banagher.'Jack Hinton
Charles James Lever
- (functioning as singular) a game in which marbles are rolled at one another, similar to bowls
- (functioning as plural) informal witsto lose one's marbles
- a hard crystalline metamorphic rock resulting from the recrystallization of a limestone: takes a high polish and is used for building and sculpture
- (as modifier)a marble bust Related adjective: marmoreal
- a block or work of art of marble
- a small round glass or stone ball used in playing marbles
- make one's marble good Australian and NZ informal to succeed or do the right thing
- pass in one's marble Australian informal to die
- (tr) to mottle with variegated streaks in imitation of marble
- cold, hard, or unresponsive
- white like some kinds of marble
Word Origin and History for marbles
children's game, from plural of marble (n.); first recorded by that name in 1709 but probably older (it was known in 13c. German as tribekugeln) and originally played with small balls of polished marble or alabaster, later clay; the modern glass ones with the colored swirl date from 1840s.
Meaning "mental faculties, common sense" is from 1927, American English slang, perhaps [OED] from earlier slang marbles "furniture, personal effects, 'the goods' " (1864, Hotten), a corrupt translation of French meubles (plural) "furniture" (see furniture).
late 14c., "of marble," from marble (n.). Meaning "mottled like marble" is mid-15c. Marble cake is attested from 1864.
1590s (implied in marbled), "to give (something) the appearance of marble," from marble (n.). Related: Marbling.
type of stone much used in sculpture, monuments, etc., early 14c., by dissimilation from marbra (mid-12c.), from Old French marbre (which itself underwent dissimilation of 2nd -r- to -l- in 14c.; marbre persisted in English into early 15c.), from Latin marmor, from or cognate with Greek marmaros "marble, gleaming stone," of unknown origin, perhaps originally an adjective meaning "sparkling," which would connect it with marmairein "to shine." The Latin word was taken directly into Old English as marma. German Marmor is restored Latin from Old High German marmul. Meaning "little balls of marble used in a children's game" is attested from 1690s.
- A metamorphic rock consisting primarily of calcite and dolomite. Marble is formed by the metamorphism of limestone. Although it is usually white to gray in color, it often has irregularly colored marks due to the presence of impurities such as silica and clay. Marble is used especially in sculpture and as a building material.
Idioms and Phrases with marbles
see have all one's buttons (marbles).