Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various tropical Asian or African trees of the genus Diospyros.
  • n. The wood of such a tree, especially the hard black heartwood of D. ebenum or certain other species, used in cabinetwork and inlaying and for piano keys.
  • n. The hard dark wood of various other trees.
  • n. The color black; ebon.
  • adj. Made of or suggesting ebony.
  • adj. Black in color.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hard, heavy, deep black wood from various subtropical and tropical trees, especially of the genus Diospyros.
  • n. A tree that yields such wood.
  • n. A deep, dark black colour.
  • n. A black key on a piano or other keyboard instrument
  • adj. Made of ebony wood.
  • adj. A deep, dark black colour.
  • adj. Dark-skinned; black; especially in reference to African-Americans

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Made of ebony, or resembling ebony; black.
  • n. A hard, heavy, and durable wood, which admits of a fine polish or gloss. The usual color is black, but it also occurs red or green.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A name given to various woods distinguished in general by their dark color and hardness, and extensively used for carving, ornamental cabinet-work, instruments, canes, etc.
  • Of ebony; made of ebony, or like ebony: as, an ebony cane; an ebony finish.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of a very dark black
  • n. tropical tree of southern Asia having hard dark-colored heartwood used in cabinetwork
  • n. a very dark black
  • n. hard dark-colored heartwood of the ebony tree; used in cabinetwork and for piano keys

Etymologies

Probably from Middle English hebenyf, ebony wood, from alteration of Late Latin hebeninus, of ebony, from Greek ebeninos, from ebenos, ebony tree, from Egyptian hbny.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Earlier hebeny, from Middle English ebenif, hebenyf (influenced by Late Latin hebeninus), from Ecclesiastical Latin ebenius ("of ebony"), from Latin hebenus ("ebon tree"), from Ancient Greek ἔβενος (ebenos), from Egyptian 𓍁𓈖𓏭𓆱 (hbny). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It was fearfully swelled (in those days our coat-sleeves were made very large), and as black as ebony from the shoulder to the wrist.

    The Autobiography of Liuetenant-General Sir Harry Smith, Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G. C. B.

  • A sumptuous Russian sleigh drawn by two splendid black horses, with a statuesque driver in ebony handling the ribbons, attracted the attention of the crowd as it dashed down the avenue and paused near the capitol steps.

    Hagar's Daughter: A Story of Southern Caste Prejudice

  • They were like young and beautiful Dantes carved in ebony; Dantes unembittered by the world, unsicklied by the pale cast of thought, and glowing with the life of the warm South.

    A Thousand Miles Up the Nile

  • Interesting trees of the tropical quebradas include the toat-thorned acacia (tepemezquite), tree catclaw (tésota, guache), many other catclaws and gatuños (Acacia spp.), black tower (torote prieto), papelillos, mountain ebony, arborescent morning glory (palo santo or palo bobo), and pochotes.

    Wildflower hunting in Durango

  • Very little of the so-called ebony is genuine, most of the ebony of commerce consisting of fine-grained hardwood, stained black.

    Commercial Geography A Book for High Schools, Commercial Courses, and Business Colleges

  • In two of the chapels there are some fine altar-pieces by Holbein and one of his scholars; and a very large crucifix of silver and ebony, which is kept with great care, is said to have been carried with the Crusaders to the Holy Land.

    Views a-foot

  • We were only there to exchange a shelf component - we'd grabbed "ebony" instead of "birch" - so I could appreciate the pathos of it all.

    No more modular furniture, ever! A photo essay in real time

  • Chrysophyllum perpulchrum (Q) and Chidlowia sanguinea; and the 'Sassandrian' forest in the south-west, dominated by water-demanding species such as ebony Diospyros spp. and Mapania spp. with numerous endemic species, especially in the lower Cavally Valley and the Meno and Hana depressions near Mont Niénokoué.

    Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire

  • An inventory, conducted using high resolution sonar - a technology used to locate objects underwater - has identified some 100 species of trees, including sought-after hardwoods such as ebony, teak and mahogany, all buried in the lake bed.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Shadow is described as an elf having masses of "ebony" hair all the way down to the floor, which she braids and coils about her head p.

    Thog the Cover: Shadow

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  • Squire Gordon's wife called Black Beauty this when they were trying to come up with a new name for him.

    July 26, 2012