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 gardens feature Italian, English and Japanese elements dotted with two grottoes, a tennis court, ponds, sculptures, and ornamental structures, such as a neoclassical pavilion, an obelisk, an echo garden and a small pyramid. Anthony Paletta, WSJ, 16 Mar. 2022 Near Kabul’s Bird Market, an ancient bazaar where poultry, fighting birds, and songbirds are sold, is a twenty-foot obelisk, topped with a red clenched fist. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 An obelisk dubbed the Three Sisters, a Soviet-era commemoration to recognize friendly relations, was installed at the tri-border point, Stupak said. Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2022 Wirz in Confederate uniform rests on a side table next to a miniature representation of the obelisk memorializing him in Andersonville. Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2022 The 60-foot obelisk commemorates an 1818 battle in which the British traders representing the crown defeated the Peshwas, the Brahmin rulers of the Maratha empire, ending its 144 years in power. Los Angeles Times, 26 Dec. 2021 Construction crews worked throughout the night on Monday to disassemble the 52-foot obelisk located in Birmingham’s Linn Park. al, 3 June 2020 On the lawn in front of the courthouse is an obelisk commemorating Confederate war dead. David Montgomery, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2022 In front of the border checkpoint stood a large white obelisk and a red Soviet star. New York Times, 16 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of obelisk was in 1561

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Last Updated

10 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obelisk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obelisk. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for obelisk


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

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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