What does alabaster mean?

Definitions for alabaster

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word alabaster.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. alabasternoun

    a compact fine-textured, usually white gypsum used for carving

  2. alabaster, oriental alabaster, onyx marble, Mexican onyxnoun

    a hard compact kind of calcite

  3. alabasteradjective

    a very light white

  4. alabaster, alabastrineadjective

    of or resembling alabaster

    "alabaster statue"


  1. alabasternoun

    A fine-grained white or lightly-tinted variety of gypsum, used ornamentally.

  2. alabasternoun

    A variety of calcite, translucent and sometimes banded.

  3. alabasteradjective

    Made of alabaster

    The crown is stored in an alabaster box with an onyx handle and a gold lock.

  4. alabasteradjective

    Resembling alabaster: white, pale, translucent.

    An ominous alabaster fog settled in the valley.

  5. Etymology: From alabastre, from alabaster, from ἀλάβαστρος, from earlier ἀλάβαστος. This may further derive from the ancient word a-labaste (vessel of the Egyptian goddess Bast).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Alabasteradjective

    Made of alabaster.

    I cannot forbear reckoning part of an alabaster column, found in the ruins of Livia’s portico. It is of the colour of fire, and may be seen over the high altar of St. Maria in Campitello; for they have cut it into two pieces, and fixed it, in the shape of a cross, in a hole of the wall; so that the light passing through it, makes it look to those in the church, like a huge transparent cross of amber. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

  2. Alabasternoun

    A kind of soft marble, easier to cut, and less durable, than the other kinds; some is white, which is most common; some of the colour of horn, and transparent; some yellow, like honey, marked with veins. The ancients used it to make boxes for perfumes. Savary.

    Etymology: ἀλάβαστϱον.

    Yet I’ll not shed her blood,
    Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
    And smooth as monumental alabaster. William Shakespeare, Othello.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Alabasternoun

    a compact variety or sulphate of lime, or gypsum, of fine texture, and usually white and translucent, but sometimes yellow, red, or gray. It is carved into vases, mantel ornaments, etc

  2. Alabasternoun

    a hard, compact variety of carbonate of lime, somewhat translucent, or of banded shades of color; stalagmite. The name is used in this sense by Pliny. It is sometimes distinguished as oriental alabaster

  3. Alabasternoun

    a box or vessel for holding odoriferous ointments, etc.; -- so called from the stone of which it was originally made

  4. Etymology: [L. alabaster, Gr. 'ala`bastros, said to be derived fr. Alabastron, the name of a town in Egypt, near which it was common: cf. OF. alabastre, F. albtre.]


  1. Alabaster

    Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals, when used as a material: gypsum and calcite, a carbonate of calcium, also known as onyx-marble, Egyptian alabaster or Oriental alabaster, in geological terms is "a stalagmitic limestone marked with patterns of swirling bands of cream and brown". In general, but not always, ancient "alabaster" in Egypt and the Near & Middle East is calcite, and "alabaster" in medieval Europe is gypsum, and modern "alabaster" is probably calcite, but may be either. Both are easy to work, with an attractive appearance, and have been used for making a variety of artworks and objects, especially carvings for indoor use, as both are slightly water soluble, and will not survive long outdoors. The two kinds are distinguished from one another readily by differences in their relative hardness. The gypsum kind is so soft as to be readily scratched with a fingernail, while the calcite kind is too hard to be scratched in this way, although it does yield readily to a knife. Moreover, the calcite alabaster, being a carbonate, effervesces upon being touched with hydrochloric acid, whereas the gypsum alabaster, when thus treated, remains practically unaffected.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Alabaster

    al′a-bas-tėr, n. a semi-transparent kind of gypsum or sulphate of lime: the fine limestone deposited as stalagmites and stalactites.—adj. made of alabaster.—adj. Alabas′trian. [Gr. alabastros, said to be derived from Alabastron, a town in Egypt.]

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of alabaster in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of alabaster in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

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1 Comment

  • I have several pieces of Alabaster fruit and was wondering what it was. this helped really well. Thank you
    LikeReplyReport7 years ago


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