ag·​ate ˈa-gət How to pronounce agate (audio)
often attributive
: a fine-grained variegated chalcedony having its colors arranged in stripes, blended in clouds, or showing mosslike forms
: something made of or fitted with agate: such as
: a drawplate used by gold-wire drawers
: a playing marble of agate
: a size of type approximately 5¹/₂ point
: condensed information (such as advertisements or box scores) set especially in agate type

Examples of agate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Residue on one edge of this agate tool turned out to be bison blood, probably thanks to someone using the tool to scrape a fresh bison hide. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 10 July 2023 Three types of diamonds—white, yellow and brown—are common in the region, as are gems like quartz, agate, garnet, amethyst and jasper, among others. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Jan. 2024 That makes the agate scraper, complete with bloody evidence of its use, more than 18,000 years old—and one of the oldest traces of human presence in North America. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 10 July 2023 Some of the precious stones found here include garnet, jasper, quartz, amethyst and agate, as well as diamonds in three colors: yellow, brown and white. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Sep. 2023 To round out her accessories, Camilla added one of her own Van Cleef & Arpels bracelets, the $4,800 agate Vintage Alhambra, as well as another gold piece and a second sapphire and diamond bracelet on her other wrist. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 22 Sep. 2023 There is also a wall of semi-precious blue agate in the main entranceway and blue mosaics in the wellness area. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 3 Nov. 2023 This level also features the most elaborate day head onboard, dressed in backlit blue agate. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 20 Oct. 2023 This sophisticated set comes with three knives, each with a slice of agate as its handle. L. Daniela Alvarez, Better Homes & Gardens, 26 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English achates, accate, agaten, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French achate, agathe, borrowed from Latin achātēs, borrowed from Greek achā́tēs, of uncertain origin

Note: According to Theophrastus and Pliny, the stone was named after a river in Sicily. Modern etymologists seem disinclined to believe this and suggest that the river was named after the stone. The voiced stop in the medieval French forms, which has become the dominant form in Modern French and English, begins to appear in Medieval Latin, and may be owed to Medieval Latin agapis, a word of obscure origin used for both the agate and lapis lazuli; it has been suggested that agapis is itself a distortion of achates (crossed with Latin lapis "stone"?), though this is far from clear.

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of agate was in the 15th century

Cite this Entry

“Agate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


ag·​ate ˈag-ət How to pronounce agate (audio)
: a smooth-looking quartz having its colors arranged in stripes or forms that look like clouds or moss
: a playing marble of agate or glass

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