obe·​lisk | \ ˈä-bə-ˌlisk How to pronounce obelisk (audio) also ˈō- \

Definition of obelisk

1 : an upright 4-sided usually monolithic pillar that gradually tapers as it rises and terminates in a pyramid

Illustration of obelisk

Illustration of obelisk

obelisk 1

Examples of obelisk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The comparison to an Egyptian obelisk is arresting. Washington Post, "The artist was living in an asylum when he painted ‘Cypresses’ shortly after ‘Starry Night’," 24 Mar. 2021 Johnson’s words set in motion the plan to remove the monument by the city after protestors unsuccessfully tried to knock the obelisk down. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, "How Jermaine ‘FunnyMaine’ Johnson left his mark on 2020 is no laughing matter," 26 Dec. 2020 The board agreed to donate the obelisk to a local historical society and to send the howitzers to the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Washington Post, "Fairfax County begins process of finding new names for Lee Highway, other sites that honor Confederate leaders," 11 Dec. 2020 Just days after a mysterious 9-foot obelisk appeared and then disappeared in Utah, a similar structure has been located in San Luis Obispo County, according to the Atascadero News. Maria Sestito, USA TODAY, "In California: Rollout plans for stay-at-home orders and vaccine distribution explained," 4 Dec. 2020 Inspired by the Bunker Hill Monument’s 221-foot-tall obelisk, the city of Boston built the high school that once served Charlestown out of blocks of granite, giving the four-story building an air of solemnity that persists. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Home of the Week: To think Charlestown students got to look at this architecture every day," 17 Jan. 2021 Meanwhile, the obelisk is an otherworldly symbol of time. Witold Rybczynski, WSJ, "‘Follies’ Review: Castle Frivolous," 24 Dec. 2020 An obelisk marking a mass grave of Confederate soldiers was spray-painted. Joseph Flaherty, Arkansas Online, "Suspects face federal counts in vandalism," 18 Dec. 2020 The obelisk has been there since at least 2016, according to Google satellite images. Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Visitors to Utah’s mysterious obelisk left behind human waste, scarred the land," 30 Nov. 2020

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

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obelisk

borrowed from Latin obeliscus "four-sided pillar," borrowed from Greek obelískos "skewer, four-sided pillar," diminutive of obelós "spit, four-sided pillar" — more at obelus

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Time Traveler for obelisk

Time Traveler

The first known use of obelisk was in 1561

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Statistics for obelisk

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obelisk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obelisk. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of obelisk

: a tall, four-sided stone column that becomes narrower toward the top and that ends in a point


obe·​lisk | \ ˈä-bə-ˌlisk How to pronounce obelisk (audio) , ˈō- \

Kids Definition of obelisk

: a four-sided pillar that becomes narrower toward the top and ends in a pyramid

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More from Merriam-Webster on obelisk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obelisk

Nglish: Translation of obelisk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about obelisk

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