Definition of stela in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈstēlə/

noun (plural stelae /-ˌlē/)

An upright stone slab or column typically bearing a commemorative inscription or relief design, often serving as a gravestone.
Example sentences
  • Scribes carved hieroglyphs on stone stelae, altars, wooden lintels, and roof beams, or painted them on ceramic vessels and in books made of bark paper.
  • The sites are fascinating for their pyramids, sculpture, frescoes and stelae (carved stone slabs depicting various ceremonies).
  • Many of these Han burials were readily identifiable by inscribed stone stelae, tablets recording the name, titles, and dates of the deceased.


Late 18th century: via Latin from Greek (see stele).

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.