obsidian


ob·sid·i·an

noun \əb-ˈsi-dē-ən\

: a dark natural glass that forms when lava cools

Full Definition of OBSIDIAN

:  a dark natural glass formed by the cooling of molten lava

Origin of OBSIDIAN

New Latin obsidianus, from Latin obsidianus lapis, false manuscript reading for obsianus lapis, literally, stone of Obsius, from Obsius, its supposed discoverer
First Known Use: 1796

obsidian

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Natural glass of volcanic origin that is formed by the rapid cooling of viscous lava. It has a glassy lustre and is slightly harder than window glass. It is typically jet black, but the presence of hematite (iron oxide) produces red and brown varieties, and tiny gas bubbles may create a golden sheen. It is sometimes used as a semiprecious stone. Obsidian was used by American Indians and others for weapons, implements, tools, and ornaments, and by the ancient Aztecs and Greeks for mirrors.

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