al·​a·​bas·​ter | \ ˈa-lə-ˌba-stər How to pronounce alabaster (audio) \

Definition of alabaster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a compact fine-textured usually white and translucent gypsum often carved into vases and ornaments
2 : a hard calcite or aragonite that is translucent and sometimes banded


geographical name
Al·​a·​bas·​ter | \ ˈa-lə-ˌba-stər How to pronounce Alabaster (audio) \

Definition of Alabaster (Entry 2 of 2)

city in central Alabama south of Birmingham population 30,352

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Other Words from alabaster


alabaster or alabastrine \ ˌa-​lə-​ˈba-​strən How to pronounce Alabaster (audio) \ adjective

Examples of alabaster in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Removed from its hiding place as part of renovations aimed at transforming St. Wilfrid’s into a community center, the 3,360-pound statue is the oldest alabaster effigy of a priest found in the U.K. to date. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Medieval Effigy Found Hidden Beneath English Church’s Pipe Organ," 29 Dec. 2020 Two salty alabaster men walk up closely and stand behind me, unmasked and poorly-aged by Confederate pride, Marlboros and Budweiser Light. Ida Harris, Essence, "I'm Aiight, I Think," 21 Dec. 2020 Despite his long string of hits and his rich, smooth baritone voice, he is perhaps best known for being the first major black artist in the largely alabaster world of country music. Thor Christensen, Dallas News, "Dallas singer Charley Pride, who broke country’s color line, dies at 86," 12 Dec. 2020 Smashed pieces of alabaster stone and masonry, once extolled by historians for architectural significance, lie among the debris. Samya Kullab, The Christian Science Monitor, "'This is our history': In Mosul, life and resilience shines," 9 Dec. 2020 Crafted in Spain from a single block of alabaster stone, Cire Trudon’s newest candle—a woody citrus scent comprised of citrus, leather, and patchouli notes—is both an olfactory and visual masterpiece. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "11 Relaxation Gifts for a Soothing, Stress-Free Holiday Season," 10 Nov. 2020 The same was true of the exquisite bowls and vases of streaked, translucent alabaster, and an impressive display of tasseled linen from the burial chamber of two people called Ramose and Hatnofer, provided for them by their generous son, Senetumut. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, "The Met Is Back, and So Are We," 1 Sep. 2020 Ancient Egyptians, for example, used a complex system of ramps and pulleys to remove giant alabaster blocks from stone quarries and build the pyramids. Courtney Sexton, Smithsonian Magazine, "Did the Ancient Greeks Design Temples With Accessibility in Mind?," 23 July 2020 High-class organs were laid to rest in alabaster jars; fancy faces were swaddled in masks made with gold and silver. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ancient Egyptian Funeral Home Reveals Embalmers Had a Knack for Business," 7 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alabaster.' 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 alabaster


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alabaster


Middle English alabastre, from Anglo-French albastre, from Latin alabaster vase of alabaster, from Greek alabastros

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Time Traveler for alabaster

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The first known use of alabaster was in the 14th century

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Statistics for alabaster

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alabaster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for alabaster


How to pronounce Alabaster (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of alabaster

: a white stone that is used to make vases and decorations


al·​a·​bas·​ter | \ ˈa-lə-ˌba-stər How to pronounce alabaster (audio) \

Kids Definition of alabaster

: a smooth usually white stone used for carving

More from Merriam-Webster on alabaster

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

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