ebony


ebony

noun, plural eb·on·ies.

  1. a hard, heavy, durable wood, most highly prized when black, from various tropical trees of the genus Diospyros, as D. ebenum of southern India and Sri Lanka, used for cabinetwork, ornamental objects, etc.
  2. any tree yielding such wood.
  3. any of various similar woods or trees.
  4. a deep, lustrous black.

adjective

  1. Also ebon. made of ebony.
  2. of a deep, lustrous black.

noun plural -onies

  1. any of various tropical and subtropical trees of the genus Diospyros, esp D. ebenum of S India, that have hard dark wood: family EbenaceaeSee also persimmon
  2. the wood of such a tree, much used for cabinetwork
    1. a black colour, sometimes with a dark olive tinge
    2. (as adjective)an ebony skin
n.

1590s, from hebenyf (late 14c.), perhaps a Middle English misreading of Latin hebeninus “of ebony,” from Greek ebeninos, from ebenos “ebony,” probably from Egyptian hbnj or another Semitic source. Figurative use to suggest intense blackness is from 1620s. As an adjective, from 1590s. French ébène, Old High German ebenus (German Ebenholz) are from Latin ebenus.

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