noun \ˈä-bə-ˌlisk also ˈō-\

: a tall, four-sided stone column that becomes narrower toward the top and that ends in a point

Full Definition of OBELISK

:  an upright 4-sided usually monolithic pillar that gradually tapers as it rises and terminates in a pyramid
a :  obelus
b :  dagger 2b

Illustration of OBELISK

Origin of OBELISK

Middle French obelisque, from Latin obeliscus, from Greek obeliskos, from diminutive of obelos
First Known Use: 1569

Other Architecture Terms

buttress, casita, cornice, fanlight, garret, lintel, parapet, pilaster, plinth


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Tapered four-sided pillar, originally erected in pairs at the entrance to ancient Egyptian temples. The Egyptian obelisk was carved from a single piece of stone, usually granite, and embellished with hieroglyphics. It was wider at its square or rectangular base than at its pyramidal top, and could be over 100 ft (30 m) high. During the Roman empire, many obelisks were transported from Egypt to Italy. A well-known modern obelisk is the Washington Monument.


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