ob·​sid·​i·​an əb-ˈsi-dē-ən How to pronounce obsidian (audio)
: a dark natural glass formed by the cooling of molten lava

Examples of obsidian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The obsidian specifically came from the Pachuca Range, which is about 1,050 miles south of McLean and about 60 miles northeast of Mexico City. Moira Ritter, Miami Herald, 29 Feb. 2024 Scattered across the building’s floor was a varied collection of objects, from large piles of raw flint and obsidian from Turkey to finished blades. Andrew Lawler, Discover Magazine, 19 Mar. 2010 The top layer is lined with gold flakes and various crystals—including black obsidian, pyrite, citrine, and tiger’s eye—that are all associated with good fortune and protection. L. Daniela Alvarez, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Oct. 2023 Two sculptures are massive chunks of black obsidian, a glassy volcanic rock formed deep underground and a material found at many Mesoamerican archaeological sites. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 20 Oct. 2023 About three-fourths the obsidian at Hopewell has been traced back to Obsidian Cliff using the X-ray tech. Jim Robbins, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2023 The insides are black obsidian. Tom Teicholz, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 In ancient Mexico, powdered obsidian was mixed with quartz and sprinkled in someone’s eyes to treat cataracts. Jim Robbins, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2023 The analysis showed that all four were made using Mexican obsidian. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 6 Oct. 2021

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

Word History


New Latin obsidianus, from Latin obsidianus lapis, false manuscript reading for obsianus lapis, literally, stone of Obsius, from Obsius, its supposed discoverer

First Known Use

1794, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of obsidian was in 1794

Dictionary Entries Near obsidian

Cite this Entry

“Obsidian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsidian. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ob·​sid·​i·​an əb-ˈsid-ē-ən How to pronounce obsidian (audio)
: a dark natural glass formed by the cooling of lava

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