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 The Green Vault features an astounding collection of historical jewelry and precious ornaments -- from shimmering bowls carved out of crystal and agate to jeweled gold figurines and goblets fashioned from gilded ostrich eggs. James Briggs, CNN, 18 May 2021 The statues from the Giustiniani collection show the seventeenth-century fascination with colored marble that was geological as well as aesthetic, including experiments with other stones: hard black Egyptian basanite and striated agate. Ingrid D. Rowland, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2021 Some people might find pandemic comfort in turning to swirling agate for rebalancing, for example. Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2021 The picture is of a piece of petrified wood that over the millennia has crystalized into a type of richly colored quartz agate with crimson, amber and cream-colored hues running through it. John D'anna, The Arizona Republic, 24 Nov. 2020 This gorgeous set of blue-dyed agate bookends are a great gift for any book-lover. Liv Birdsall, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2020 The front doors have brass handles in the form of branches; the floors and many walls are dark green; and tables have brass bases with tops in green agate or pink quartz. William Middleton, ELLE Decor, 2 Nov. 2020 With his father’s encouragement, John hunted for agates and Native American artifacts and collected coins and stamps. Richard Sandomir,, 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, 9 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About agate

Time Traveler for agate

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for agate

Last Updated

27 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Agate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on agate

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!