hour·​glass | \ˈau̇(-ə)r-ˌglas \

Definition of hourglass 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: an instrument for measuring time consisting of a glass vessel having two compartments from the upper of which a quantity of usually sand runs in an hour into the lower one



Definition of hourglass (Entry 2 of 2)

: shaped like an hourglass an hourglass figure

Illustration of hourglass

Illustration of hourglass


In the meaning defined above

Examples of hourglass in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Teddy doesn't exactly have an hourglass figure these days. Maggie Gordon, Houston Chronicle, "More than half of American dogs are overweight. Including mine, apparently.," 9 July 2018 Most sizing charts for women assume an hourglass figure, and many women are not that shape. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "H&M Is Making Their Clothing Sizes Larger," 8 June 2018 But several teams of scientists are working to flip the hourglass back over. New York Times, "Scientists See Promise in Resurrecting These Rhinos That Are Nearly Extinct," 24 May 2018 The models that have broken through are hourglass-shaped and have flat bellies and few rolls. Lindsay Peoples, The Cut, "6 Women on What Full-Figured Fashion Week Means to Them," 29 June 2018 Love that doesn’t function through the hourglass of reproduction. Zoe Harris, Marie Claire, "Amandla Stenberg Comes Out as Gay—"Not Bi, Not Pan"—in a Rad Interview," 19 June 2018 The magical unicorn marshmallow will replace the hourglass shape, which Lucky Charms announced last month without much controversy. Shannon Barbour, Cosmopolitan, "Lucky Charms is Adding a Trendy Marshmallow Shape to the Mix," 20 Feb. 2018 Short leather jackets with patchwork pockets and trousers billowing with pleats like chaps at the side, to create an hourglass silhouette for both men and women. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Politics Comes to the New York Runways," 12 Feb. 2018 Successes separated by only three years — a grain of sand in the Triple Crown hourglass with just 13 winners in 99 years — and both being saddled by Baffert seemingly cast a shadow on Justify. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Justify doesn't need popularity. He has the Triple Crown," 9 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And yet, her body, designed by a man, had a waist equivalent to 18 inches on a real woman; an impossibly thin figure made even more so by her zaftig 39-inch bust and 33-inch hourglass hip measurement. Kate Branch, Vogue, "How America’s Favorite Doll Created a Beauty Complex," 27 Apr. 2018 Her bright blouse and pants clung to her thick, hourglass figure. Aya De Leon, The Root, "The Takedown," 22 Apr. 2018

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


circa 1515, in the meaning defined above


circa 1834, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for hourglass

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Time Traveler for hourglass

The first known use of hourglass was circa 1515

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More Definitions for hourglass



English Language Learners Definition of hourglass

: a device for measuring time


hour·​glass | \ˈau̇r-ˌglas \

Kids Definition of hourglass

: a device for measuring time in which sand takes an hour to run from the upper into the lower part of a glass container

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Comments on hourglass

What made you want to look up hourglass? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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