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[ob-uh-lisk] /ˈɒb ə lɪsk/
a tapering, four-sided shaft of stone, usually monolithic and having a pyramidal apex.
something resembling such a shaft.
an obelus.
Printing. dagger (def 2).
Origin of obelisk
1540-50; < Latin obeliscus < Greek obelískos small spit, equivalent to obel(ós) spit, pointed pillar + -iskos diminutive suffix
Related forms
obeliscal, adjective
obeliskoid, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for obelisk
  • In the center of everything, this moderately priced hotel features a sweeping view of the historic obelisk.
  • The structure is a modern twist on a traditional obelisk.
  • Tourists can get an awe-inspiring view of the city from the observation window at the top of the obelisk-shaped monument.
  • Climbers also can try their skill at scaling the sides of the obelisk.
  • The obelisk bears the names of protesters killed during the uprising.
  • The newest marked grave occurs near the base of the ridge and has a granite obelisk marked.
British Dictionary definitions for obelisk


a stone pillar having a square or rectangular cross section and sides that taper towards a pyramidal top, often used as a monument in ancient Egypt
(printing) another name for dagger (sense 2)
Derived Forms
obeliscal, adjective
obeliskoid, adjective
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek obeliskos a little spit, from obelos spit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for obelisk

"rectangular stone column tapering at the top," 1560s, from Middle French obélisque (16c.) and directly from Latin obeliscus "obelisk, small spit," from Greek obeliskos "small spit, obelisk, leg of a compass," diminutive of obelos "a spit, pointed pillar, needle." Related: Obeliskine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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