1 of 2


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

Illustration of hourglass

Illustration of hourglass


2 of 2


: shaped like an hourglass
an hourglass figure

Examples of hourglass in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
And the Gibson Girl, which was a famous series of illustrations around the turn of century, very buxom girl, hourglass figure, the fashions around that started to change in the first decade of the 20th century. Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 May 2024 Black widow spiders can be identified by the red hourglass marking on their abdomens, according to National Geographic. Brianna Taylor, Sacramento Bee, 28 May 2024
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, 27 Apr. 2018 Her bright blouse and pants clung to her thick, hourglass figure. Aya De Leon, The Root, 22 Apr. 2018 See all Example Sentences for hourglass 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hourglass.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1515, in the meaning defined above


circa 1834, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hourglass was circa 1515

Dictionary Entries Near hourglass

Cite this Entry

“Hourglass.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hourglass. Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: an instrument for measuring time in which usually sand runs from the upper part to the lower part of a glass container in an hour
hourglass adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on hourglass

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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