[ stee-lee, steel for 1-3; steel, stee-lee for 4 ]
See synonyms for stele on
noun,plural ste·lai [stee-lahy], /ˈsti laɪ/, ste·les [stee-leez, steelz]. /ˈsti liz, stilz/.
  1. an upright stone slab or pillar bearing an inscription or design and serving as a monument, marker, or the like.

  2. Architecture. a prepared surface on the face of a building, a rock, etc., bearing an inscription or the like.

  1. (in ancient Rome) a burial stone.

  2. Botany. the central cylinder or cylinders of vascular and related tissue in the stem, root, petiole, leaf, etc., of the higher plants.

Origin of stele

First recorded in 1810–20; from Greek stḗlē, akin to histánai “to make stand,” Latin stāre “to stand”; see stand
  • Also ste·la [stee-luh] /ˈsti lə/ (for defs. 1-3).

Other words from stele

  • ste·lar [stee-ler], /ˈsti lər/, adjective

Words that may be confused with stele Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for stele


/ (ˈstiːlɪ, stiːl) /

nounplural stelae (ˈstiːliː) or steles (ˈstiːlɪz, stiːlz)
  1. an upright stone slab or column decorated with figures or inscriptions, common in prehistoric times

  2. a prepared vertical surface that has a commemorative inscription or design, esp one on the face of a building

  1. the conducting tissue of the stems and roots of plants, which is in the form of a cylinder, principally containing xylem, phloem, and pericycle: See also protostele, siphonostele

Origin of stele

C19: from Greek stēlē; related to Greek histanai to stand, Latin stāre
  • Also called (for senses 1, 2): stela (ˈstiːlə)

Derived forms of stele

  • stelar (ˈstiːlə), adjective

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

Scientific definitions for stele


[ stēl, stē ]

  1. The central core of primary vascular tissues in the stem or root of a vascular plant, consisting of xylem and phloem together with pith.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.