ste·​la ˈstē-lə How to pronounce stela (audio)
variants or stele
plural stelae ˈstē-(ˌ)lē How to pronounce stela (audio) or steles
: a usually carved or inscribed stone slab or pillar used for commemorative purposes

Examples of stela in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The stela shows an individual wearing a headdress and necklace, items usually associated with women, while wielding a pair of swords. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Dec. 2023 The Lanzón stela has sat among tunnels under ancient ruins in the Peruvian Andes for more than two millennia. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 20 Dec. 2021 The stela’s goal was multifold: To lay out the laws of the land clearly for citizens, but also to establish Hammurabi as law-giver and judge even after his death. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 1 Dec. 2020 Scholars began searching for physical evidence of the realm only in 1994, when epigraphers reading a stela — found a century earlier at a dig in Guatemala — realized that a glyph described the capture of a Sak Tz’i’ king in 628 A.D. Franz Lidz Meghan Dhaliwal, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2022 The coronations of new kings, as well as the end of k’atuns and other auspicious dates, were also recorded on stela. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 21 Dec. 2020 So naturally a petition has started to return the stela to Egypt, where it was discovered by the French during Napoleon’s invasion in 1799 before being traded to the British and shipped to England. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 30 Nov. 2022 Not only have times significantly changed but, in the great Ford outdoors, a stela from a Theosophical Society pilgrimage placed a century ago could easily be imagined buried on the hillside. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2022 An Egyptian stela dating from more than four and a half thousand years ago, now in the collection of the Louvre, depicts the Princess Nefertiabet dressed in what looks like elegant contemporary evening wear. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 21 Mar. 2022

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

Word History


Latin & Greek; Latin stela, from Greek stēlē; akin to Old High German stollo pillar, Greek stellein to set up

First Known Use

1776, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stela was in 1776

Dictionary Entries Near stela

Cite this Entry

“Stela.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

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