noun, often attributive
ag·​ate | \ˈa-gət \

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

The designer has collaborated with online and paper stationery brand Paperless Post to create a collection of 50 invitations and cards with her gorgeous, signature details such as agate patterns, geometric shapes, bronze motifs, and more. Sarah Yang, House Beautiful, "Chic Invites: Kelly Wearstler's New Collection for Paperless Post," 15 Oct. 2013 So go ahead and sling New Age strands—from the more literal, like Diane Kordas’s agate rosary cross, to the more contemporary, like Carolina Bucci’s one-of-a-kind Recharmed necklace—that nod to the real deal ’round your neck. Madeline Nastala, Vogue, "Say a Little Prayer With These Modern Rosary-Inspired Beads," 4 May 2018 Near a window, a table displays orbs—agate, quartz, malachite, marble—made by her father, a connoisseur of semiprecious stones. Nancy Hass, ELLE Decor, "A Milan Ceramicist Brings Her Family’s Artisanal Aesthetic to Life at Home," 4 Oct. 2018 Think baroque seed pearls, strung with bits of glass, and polished agate and bulbs of orange turquoise. Monica Kim, Vogue, "SVNR’s Colorful Keepsake Earrings Turn Forgotten Objects Into Chic Mementos," 13 July 2018 But combined with lapis lazuli, turquoise, tiger’s eye, agate stones, and freshwater pearls, the wire used in these traps has become stunning jewelry with a global market. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Meanwhile in ... Cambodia, 'hero rats' are helping with mine clearance," 14 June 2018 Tito Landrum, a guy whose name had been in agate virtually his entire career, comes up and slams one into the second deck at Comiskey Park.(The Orioles) win the game and go on and win the World Series. Steve Rosenbloom,, "Michael Jordan's final shot as a Bull was the most memorable call of Bob Costas' career," 11 June 2018 Hundreds of colorful stones, like turquoise, Montana agate, and labradorite, are scattered on one bench, and strips of old metal lie on another. Leslie Hittmeier, Outside Online, "Ruby and Revolver Makes Mountain-Inspired Jewelry," 11 June 2018 Delicate floral designs inlaid with semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli, red agate, amethyst, abalone, jasper and mother-of-pearl, decorate a variety of marbles and contrast with the more traditional geometric ceramic details. Jim Berleley, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Dubai," 5 Oct. 2016

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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Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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

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More Definitions for agate



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 \

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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