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

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 Renderings of the piece show an obelisk, with a base inscribed with quotes from Lincoln and a stainless-steel upper portion inscribed with words describing Lincoln. USA TODAY, "Peacock problems, avocado threat, weedy sea dragons: News from around our 50 states," 17 Feb. 2020 In video of the incident, Francis walks down a line of admirers separated by fencing, clasping their hands, waving and smiling with the basilica and the Vatican obelisk in the background. NBC News, "Disgruntled Pope Francis swats hand of woman tugging his arm," 1 Jan. 2020 Alabama sued Birmingham in 2017 after municipal officials erected a wooden box obscuring the inscriptions on a 52-foot-tall (16-meter-tall) obelisk honoring Confederate veterans. BostonGlobe.com, "“Photographs of the monument included in the record taken before and after the placement of the plywood screen confirm that the 12-foot plywood screen around the base of the monument completely blocks the view of all inscriptions on the monument,” justices wrote.," 27 Nov. 2019 Made of granite and marble, the Washington Monument was designed to look like an Egyptian obelisk. Aaron Steckelberg, Washington Post, "The Washington Monument," 17 Sep. 2019 In 2015, Youngbuk designed and built floor-to-ceiling indoor rock-climbing walls to envelop sculptures of anthropomorphic white obelisks in a gallery at one of New York’s trendiest art museums. Anna Ben Yehuda Rahmanan, Popular Mechanics, "How Brooklyn's Boldest Custom-Fabricators Execute Projects on a Massive Scale," 11 Dec. 2019 This is our history, not a granite obelisk in Linn Park but a racist, oppressive foundation of law. Kyle Whitmire, al, "This is our history: How white supremacy still thrives in Alabama," 4 Dec. 2019 There are two memorials to Blake in Bunhill Fields: a squat headstone next to Defoe’s soaring obelisk and a newer slab laid on the site of the mass grave where he was buried in 1827. The Economist, "Grave hopping with Gilbert & George," 15 Nov. 2019 An August 2011 earthquake left cracks in the stones near the top of the obelisk. Los Angeles Times, "Washington Monument reopens after 3-year closure for repairs," 19 Sep. 2019

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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Last Updated

20 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obelisk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obelisk. Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

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How to pronounce obelisk (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obelisk

Spanish Central: Translation of obelisk

Nglish: Translation of obelisk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about obelisk

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