hour·​glass | \ ˈau̇(-ə)r-ˌglas How to pronounce hourglass (audio) \

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 Tap on the hourglass icon next to the name of an app to set a timer. Rachael Zisk, Popular Science, "Fight election season burnout with these mental health tips," 11 Oct. 2020 The hourglass brush is specially designed to coat every lash from root to tip, no lashes left behind. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "Uoma Drama Bomb Mascara Actually Makes Short, Stubby Lashes Look Long," 8 Oct. 2020 As for objects, there appears to be meaning behind a spider in an hourglass, candy canes and a lock of hair. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "'I can't believe that's you!' 'Masked Singer' reveal of Giraffe shocks Robin Thicke," 8 Oct. 2020 Flap pockets instead of welt pockets, a longer silhouette with an hourglass shape, or the addition of a hood or belt. Sara Holzman, Marie Claire, "Add a Peacoat to Your Fall Wardrobe," 30 Sep. 2020 Shyamalan also released the film poster, which shows what appears to be an hourglass timer with bodies falling down instead of sand. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "M. Night Shyamalan has revealed the title and poster for his upcoming movie," 27 Sep. 2020 The prince discovers a mystical dagger with the ability to manipulate time and is then tricked into releasing the Sands of Time from its hourglass. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Prince of Persia returning with The Sands of Time remake," 10 Sep. 2020 Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of … Pasadena Little Theatre? Don Maines, Houston Chronicle, "Community theater presents soapy romp in online weekly webisodes," 16 Sep. 2020 Now, the sand in the hourglass is running dangerously low on the Reds’ postseason hopes. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, "Sonny Gray doesn't make it out of the 1st inning, Cincinnati Reds blown out by St. Louis Cardinals," 2 Sep. 2020 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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Time Traveler for hourglass

Time Traveler

The first known use of hourglass was circa 1515

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Statistics for hourglass

Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hourglass.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hourglass. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for hourglass


How to pronounce hourglass (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hourglass

: a device for measuring time


hour·​glass | \ ˈau̇r-ˌglas How to pronounce hourglass (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on hourglass

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hourglass

Nglish: Translation of hourglass for Spanish Speakers

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