ob·​sid·​i·​an | \ əb-ˈsi-dē-ən How to pronounce obsidian (audio) \

Definition of obsidian

: a dark natural glass formed by the cooling of molten lava

Examples of obsidian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Vast trade networks linked the foragers with regions perhaps as far away as Greece, as indicated by exotic items found at Iron Gates: seashell beads from the Black Sea and tools made of volcanic obsidian mined from an island in the Aegean Sea. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018 The history of local mining—for obsidian, iron, copper, silver, coal—also goes back thousands of years. Kyre Chenven, Condé Nast Traveler, "For Sardinia’s Wild Side, Head to Sulcis," 12 Oct. 2018 But none seems better equipped to manage summer's onslaught than Carricante, grown mostly on the eastern slopes of Mt. Etna, facing the sea, where the soils are studded with obsidian. Patrick Comiskey, latimes.com, "Cool white wines from hot climates," 15 May 2018 But Brooks says the presence of obsidian also means that the inhabitants of BOK-2 were probably trading with people closer to the obsidian deposits, not just walking for days to pick up some rocks and then walk home again. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Unstable climate forced early humans to be more social and creative," 18 Mar. 2018 The toolmakers were highly selective about their raw materials, importing obsidian from up to 90 kilometers away. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Signs of symbolic behavior emerged at the dawn of our species in Africa," 15 Mar. 2018 Afterwards, the early humans living in the area traded for sharp, strong obsidian and made delicate tools and spear heads. NBC News, "Did climate change help modern humans emerge?," 15 Mar. 2018 Analysis showed much of the obsidian was from places about 15 miles to 30 miles (25 to 50 kilometers) away in five different directions. Washington Post, "Stone tools from Kenya give early glimpse of human behavior," 15 Mar. 2018 Half of the ballroom gleamed ivory, silver and gray while the other half was a exquisite nightmare in ebony, obsidian and onyx. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Ballet's "Swan Lake" Ball dances into a record-breaking $1.4 million gala," 19 Feb. 2018

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

1794, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for obsidian

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

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The first known use of obsidian was in 1794

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English Language Learners Definition of obsidian

: a dark natural glass that forms when lava cools


ob·​sid·​i·​an | \ əb-ˈsi-dē-ən How to pronounce obsidian (audio) \

Kids Definition of obsidian

: a smooth dark rock formed by the cooling of lava

More from Merriam-Webster on obsidian

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obsidian

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about obsidian

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