Definition of ebony in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈebənē/


1Heavy blackish or very dark brown timber from a mainly tropical tree.
Example sentences
  • During Victorian times, the use of more exotic timbers like mahogany and ebony became popular, meaning trees were exported from Africa, Asia and the Americas.
  • Its paleness escapes looking bland thanks to contrasting inlays of ebony, walnut and amboyna, a wood distinguished by bird's eye curls.
  • Recorders are made from hardwoods such as maple, rosewood, or ebony as well as the plastic versions.
1.1A very dark brown or black color: his smile flashed against the ebony of his skin [as modifier]: his ebony hair
More example sentences
  • Strangely though, the child has ebony black hair… darker than his mother's.
  • Donna was probably the third most beautiful with her ebony black hair and dark, mysterious eyes.
  • Even though all that could be seen of him was his light brown cloak, black scarf and icy ebony hair, the people staring at him had their shoulders tensed in hostility.
2A tree of tropical and warm-temperate regions that produces ebony.
  • Genera Diospyros and Euclea, family Ebenaceae: numerous species, in particular D. ebenum.
Example sentences
  • Many of the islands are mountainous and heavily forested with teak, ebony, and sandalwood.
2.1Used in names of trees of other families that produce similar timber, e.g., Jamaican (or American) ebony.


Late Middle English: from earlier ebon (via Old French and Latin from Greek ebenos 'ebony tree'), perhaps on the pattern of ivory.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: eb·on·y

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