ivory

play
noun ivo·ry \ˈīv-rē, ˈī-və-rē\

Definition of ivory

plural

ivories

  1. 1 a :  the hard creamy-white modified dentine that composes the tusks of a tusked mammal (as an elephant, walrus, or narwhal) b :  a tusk that yields ivory

  2. 2 :  a variable color averaging a pale yellow

  3. 3 slang :  tooth

  4. 4 :  something (as a piano key) made of ivory or of a similar substance

ivory

adjective

Examples of ivory in a sentence

  1. a carved piece of ivory

Did You Know?

A hard white substance that is a variety of dentin, ivory makes up the tusks of such animals as elephants, walruses, and preserved mammoths. It is prized for its beauty, durability, and suitability for carving. In ancient times it was treasured as highly as gold and precious stones. Most ivory used commercially once came from Africa, but this trade declined in the 20th century as the populations of African elephants shrank, and increasing worldwide concern about endangered elephant populations led to bans on the export and import of ivory. The once-thriving markets of Europe have shifted to southeast Asia, where skilled artisans, often trading illegally, carve ivory into figurines and other objects.

Origin and Etymology of ivory

Middle English ivorie, from Anglo-French ivoire, ivurie, from Latin eboreus of ivory, from ebor-, ebur ivory, from Egyptian ˒ʾb, ˒ʾbw elephant, ivory


First Known Use: 13th century


IVORY Defined for English Language Learners

ivory

play
noun ivo·ry \ˈīv-rē, ˈī-və-rē\

Definition of ivory for English Language Learners

  • : a hard white substance that forms the tusks of elephants and other animals

  • : a slightly yellowish white color

  • : a piano key


IVORY Defined for Kids

ivory

play
noun ivo·ry \ˈī-və-rē, ˈīv-rē\

Definition of ivory for Students

plural

ivories

  1. 1 :  a hard creamy-white material that forms the tusks of mammals (as elephants)

  2. 2 :  a creamy white color


Medical Dictionary

ivory

play
noun ivo·ry \ˈīv-(ə-)rē\

Medical Definition of ivory

plural

ivories

  1. :  the hard creamy-white modified dentin that composes the tusks of a tusked mammal and especially the elephant

ivory

adjective

Learn More about ivory


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