noun, often attributive
ag·​ate | \ ˈa-gət How to pronounce agate (audio) \

Definition of agate

1 : a fine-grained variegated chalcedony having its colors arranged in stripes, blended in clouds, or showing mosslike forms
2 : something made of or fitted with agate: such as
a : a drawplate used by gold-wire drawers
b : a playing marble of agate
3a : a size of type approximately 5¹/₂ point
b : condensed information (such as advertisements or box scores) set especially in agate type

Examples of agate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With his father’s encouragement, John hunted for agates and Native American artifacts and collected coins and stamps. Richard Sandomir,, "John Driscoll, scholar, art dealer and collector," 25 May 2020 Sets come with a velvet pouch, and are available in many varieties of stone, including obsidian, tiger’s eye, grey agate, and more. Popular Science, "Polyhedral gaming dice are the weapons of your imagination," 9 Apr. 2020 The researchers also found a seal made from agate, adorned with a carving of a ship; three large vases made of copper; and ingots of bronze and tin — one of the largest caches of raw metal ever found in Crete. Fox News, "Gold and jewels found on Minoan Island devoted to the color purple," 12 Dec. 2019 Results could be found amid the box scores and standings, in the small type used in the agate pages of the sports section., "The story that haunted Don Bolles isn't the story most people think they know," 3 Dec. 2019 Lapidary is cutting and shaping semiprecious stones like agate, jasper, opal or turquoise for rings and settings, John Oechsler said. Lyndi Mcnulty,, "An Eye for Art: Finksburg artist runs gamut from designing clothes and jewelry to painting murals and watercolors," 6 Nov. 2019 The digging action of the inshore waves turns up agates, sand dollars, shells and smoothed good-luck pocket rocks. Tom Stienstra,, "Whale skull washes up in Marin: What’s coming next?," 27 Oct. 2019 One of my biggest jewelry regrets is not buying a white agate and spinel ring designed by her 15 years ago. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Masterpiece London Has the Best Jewels in the World," 28 June 2019 The exhibition includes fine examples of Verrocchio’s metalwork (an agate vase with silver mountings and a magnificent bronze candelabrum) and a roomful of drawings, which is an impressive assemblage given the paucity of his drawings. Washington Post, "The first major U.S. show devoted to the artist who helped forge Leonardo da Vinci’s genius," 12 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of agate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for agate

Middle English achates, accate, agaten, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French achate, agathe, borrowed from Latin achātēs, borrowed from Greek achā́tēs, of uncertain origin

Note: According to Theophrastus and Pliny, the stone was named after a river in Sicily. Modern etymologists seem disinclined to believe this and suggest that the river was named after the stone. The voiced stop in the medieval French forms, which has become the dominant form in Modern French and English, begins to appear in Medieval Latin, and may be owed to Medieval Latin agapis, a word of obscure origin used for both the agate and lapis lazuli; it has been suggested that agapis is itself a distortion of achates (crossed with Latin lapis "stone"?), though this is far from clear.

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Time Traveler for agate

Time Traveler

The first known use of agate was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Agate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for agate


How to pronounce agate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of agate

: a very hard stone used especially in jewelry that has colors arranged in stripes or in patches


ag·​ate | \ ˈa-gət How to pronounce agate (audio) \

Kids Definition of agate

: a mineral that is a form of quartz with colors arranged in stripes or patches and that is used especially in jewelry

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More from Merriam-Webster on agate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with agate

Spanish Central: Translation of agate

Nglish: Translation of agate for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about agate

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