What does ivory mean?

Definitions for ivory
ˈaɪ və ri, ˈaɪ vriivo·ry

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word ivory.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ivory, tusknoun

    a hard smooth ivory colored dentine that makes up most of the tusks of elephants and walruses

  2. bone, ivory, pearl, off-whitenoun

    a shade of white the color of bleached bones

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Ivorynoun

    Ivory is a hard, solid, and firm substance, of a fine white colour, and capable of a very good polish: it is the dens exertus of the elephant, who carries on each side of his jaws a tooth of six or seven feet in length, of the thickness of a man's thigh at the base, and almost entirely solid; the two sometimes weighing three hundreed and thirty pounds: these ivory tusks are hollow from the base to a certain height, and the cavity is filled with a compact medullary substance, seeming to have a great number of glands in it. The finest ivory is brought from the East-Indies, where great quantity of it is not taken immediately from the head of the animal, but found buried in the earth. The ivory of the islands of Ceylon and of Achem do not become yellow in the wearing as all other ivory does, and it therefore bears a greater price than of the Guinea coast. The preparations of ivory have the same restorative virtues with those of the hartshorn. Hill.

    Etymology: ivoire, French; ebur, Lat.

    There is more difference between thy flesh and hers, than between jet and ivory. William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice.

    Draw Erato with a sweet and lovely countenance, bearing a heart with an ivory key. Henry Peacham.

    From their ivory port the cherubim
    Forth issu'd. John Milton.

    Two gates the silent house of sleep adorn,
    Of polish'd iv'ry this, that of transparent horn:
    True visions through transparent horn arise,
    Through polish'd iv'ry pass deluding lies. John Dryden, Æn.


  1. Ivory

    Ivory is a hard, white material from the tusks (traditionally from elephants) and teeth of animals, that consists mainly of dentine, one of the physical structures of teeth and tusks. The chemical structure of the teeth and tusks of mammals is the same, regardless of the species of origin, but ivory contains structures of mineralised collagen. The trade in certain teeth and tusks other than elephant is well established and widespread; therefore, "ivory" can correctly be used to describe any mammalian teeth or tusks of commercial interest which are large enough to be carved or scrimshawed.Besides natural ivory, ivory can also be produced synthetically, hence (unlike natural ivory) not requiring the retrieval of the material from animals. Tagua nuts can also be carved like ivory.The trade of finished goods of ivory products has its origins in the Indus Valley. Ivory is a main product that is seen in abundance and was used for trading in Harappan civilization. Finished ivory products that were seen in Harappan sites include kohl sticks, pins, awls, hooks, toggles, combs, game pieces, dice, inlay and other personal ornaments. Ivory has been valued since ancient times in art or manufacturing for making a range of items from ivory carvings to false teeth, piano keys, fans, and dominoes. Elephant ivory is the most important source, but ivory from mammoth, walrus, hippopotamus, sperm whale, orca, narwhal and warthog are used as well. Elk also have two ivory teeth, which are believed to be the remnants of tusks from their ancestors.The national and international trade in natural ivory of threatened species such as African and Asian elephants is illegal. The word ivory ultimately derives from the ancient Egyptian âb, âbu ("elephant"), through the Latin ebor- or ebur.


  1. ivory

    Ivory is a hard, white substance, often associated with the tusks of elephants, walruses, and other tusked mammals. It is durable, easily carved, and has been highly valued by many cultures throughout history for use in art, jewelry, and other objects. Due to concerns about animal conservation, particularly elephants, the trade in new ivory is now highly restricted or banned in many countries.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ivorynoun

    the hard, white, opaque, fine-grained substance constituting the tusks of the elephant. It is a variety of dentine, characterized by the minuteness and close arrangement of the tubes, as also by their double flexure. It is used in manufacturing articles of ornament or utility

  2. Ivorynoun

    the tusks themselves of the elephant, etc

  3. Ivorynoun

    any carving executed in ivory

  4. Ivorynoun

    teeth; as, to show one's ivories

  5. Etymology: [OE. ivori, F. ivoire, fr. L. eboreus made of ivory, fr. ebur, eboris, ivory, cf. Skr. ibha elephant. Cf. Eburnean.]


  1. Ivory

    Ivory is a hard, white material, derived from the tusks and teeth of animals, that is used in art or manufacturing. It consists of dentine, a tissue that is similar to bone. It has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, and dominoes. Elephant ivory has been the most important source, but ivory from many species including the hippopotamus, walrus, pig, sperm whale, and narwhal has been used. The word ultimately derives from the Ancient Egyptian âb, âbu "elephant", through the Latin ebor- or ebur. The use and trade of elephant ivory have become controversial because they have contributed to seriously declining elephant populations in many countries. In 1975, the Asian elephant was placed on Appendix One of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which prevents international trade between member countries. The African elephant was placed on Appendix One in January 1990. Since then, some southern African countries have had their populations of elephants "downlisted" to Appendix Two, allowing sale of some stockpiles. Ivory has many ornamental and practical uses. Prior to the introduction of plastics, it was used for billiard balls, piano keys, Scottish bagpipes, buttons and a wide range of ornamental items. Synthetic substitutes for ivory have been developed. Plastics have been viewed by piano purists as an inferior ivory substitute on piano keys, although other recently developed materials more closely resemble the feel of real ivory.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ivory

    ī′vo-ri, n. the hard, white substance composing the tusks of the elephant and of the sea-horse.—adj. made of, or resembling, ivory.—adj. I′voried, made like ivory: furnished with teeth.—ns. I′vory-black, a black powder, originally made from burnt ivory, but now from bone; I′vory-nut, the nut of a species of palm, containing a substance like ivory; I′vory-palm, the tree which bears the ivory-nut; I′vory-por′celain, a fine ware with an ivory-white glaze.—Show one's ivories, to show the teeth. [O. Fr. ivurie (Fr. ivoire)—L. ebur, eboris, ivory; Coptic ebu; Sans. ibhas, an elephant.]

Suggested Resources

  1. ivory

    The ivory symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the ivory symbol and its characteristic.

  2. ivory

    Song lyrics by ivory -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by ivory on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. IVORY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Ivory is ranked #4893 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Ivory surname appeared 7,201 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 2 would have the surname Ivory.

    73.1% or 5,270 total occurrences were Black.
    21.2% or 1,527 total occurrences were White.
    3% or 217 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    2.1% or 158 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    0.2% or 17 total occurrences were Asian.
    0.1% or 12 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce ivory?

How to say ivory in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ivory in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ivory in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of ivory in a Sentence

  1. Birama Sissoko:

    There is a stock of ivory that circulates. If we can get hold of the ivory, we can work backwards until we get hold of the poachers.

  2. John Ruge:

    It is awesome to see Dominique back home in the care of her family, it is the perfect ending to her journey to the United States. It is also a great beginning for her new life in the Ivory Coast. I'm so proud of our surgical team and the impact we have had on little Dominique's life. It is why we do what we do every day.

  3. Samuel Wasser:

    There has been a lot of movement to make the sale of ivory illegal in many countries around the world, however, it has not had a great impact on the kinds of trade that we are talking about when we're getting these big seizures. And when I say a big seizure, it's a minimum size of a half-ton and that can go up to 10 tons or more.

  4. Charles Augustin Sainte-Beauve:

    Vigny, more secretAs if in his tower of ivory, retired before noon.N.B. Vigny refers to Comte de Vigny, who locked himself in an ivory tower to work without the influences of man and desire.

  5. Raymond Engena:

    It's our intelligence unit and audit that discovered a large amount of ivory was missing, We have asked security agencies to investigate. As investigations go on, we have told these five people to step aside.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for ivory

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"ivory." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/ivory>.

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