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

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 My eyes light up at sparkly chunks of raw crystals, and patiently the owners tell me about the purported healing energies of tiger's eye, rose quartz, and agate. Andrea Bartz, Redbook, "Why I Stopped Waiting for a Partner & Started Traveling the World," 10 Aug. 2017 Some countertops have become not only the focal point of a room but a piece of art for the home, such as a glass top that has an artist’s work embedded in it, or an agate piece backlit with semiprecious stones. Robyn A. Friedman, WSJ, "Countertops Limited Only by Your Budget and Imagination," 26 Dec. 2018 Hit the beach and hunt for clams, sea glass, and agate pieces at low tide, and splash around at high tide. Kristi Valentini, Redbook, "The No-Fly, All-Fun Vacation," 13 July 2017 Pictured above: Hemmerle emerald, agate, and sapphire necklace; diamond and bronze bangle, and earrings, all with ancient Egyptian faiance amulets. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "The Secret Global Network of Private Super Jewelers," 20 Sep. 2018 Photo: Allied Kitchen & Bath Agate Homeowners who want an exotic look often turn to agate. Robyn A. Friedman, WSJ, "Countertops Limited Only by Your Budget and Imagination," 26 Dec. 2018 Some designers go further, opting to showcase the agate by backlighting it with LED lights. Robyn A. Friedman, WSJ, "Countertops Limited Only by Your Budget and Imagination," 26 Dec. 2018

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

7 Oct 2019

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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 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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