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stele

[stee-lee, steel for 1–3; steel, stee-lee for 4]
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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.
  3. (in ancient Rome) a burial stone.
  4. Botany. the central cylinder or cylinders of vascular and related tissue in the stem, root, petiole, leaf, etc., of the higher plants.
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Also stela (for defs 1–3).

Origin of stele

1810–20; < Greek stḗlē, akin to histánai to make stand, Latin stāre to stand
Related formsste·lar [stee-ler] /ˈsti lər/, adjective
Can be confusedsteal steel stele
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for stele

stele

noun plural 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
  3. the conducting tissue of the stems and roots of plants, which is in the form of a cylinder, principally containing xylem, phloem, and pericycleSee also protostele, siphonostele
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Also called (for senses 1, 2): stela (ˈstiːlə)
Derived Formsstelar (ˈstiːlə), adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Greek stēlē; related to Greek histanai to stand, Latin stāre
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 stele

n.

"upright slab," usually inscribed, 1820, from Greek stele "standing block, slab," from PIE root *stel- "to put, stand" (see stall (n.1)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stele in Science

stele

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