Definition of ivory in English:


Syllabification: i·vo·ry
Pronunciation: /ˈīv(ə)rē

noun (plural ivories)

  • 1A hard creamy-white substance composing the main part of the tusks of an elephant, walrus, or narwhal, often (especially formerly) used to make ornaments and other articles: [as modifier]: a knife with an ivory handle
    More example sentences
    • South Africa and Namibia seek amendments to regulations on trade in ivory from elephant tusks which CITES banned in 1989.
    • Back then they were taking ivory from elephants and walruses.
    • Rather than being carved in elephant ivory, they have been made from a walrus tusk, a material commonly used in northern Europe for such objects at this time.
  • 1.1An object made of ivory.
    More example sentences
    • Fine and rare items, like the pristine 19th century mother-of-pearl workbox, blonde tortoiseshell tea caddy, together with snuff boxes and Oriental ivories, will bring collectors from far and near.
    • The monasteries became repositories of treasures which included paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, ivories, bronzes, reliquaries, precious stones, and textiles.
    • Another collection of lesser ivories was in the basement store of the museum.
  • 1.2 (the ivories) • informal The keys of a piano.
    More example sentences
    • The sound of music filled a Warminster school on Tuesday when pupils tinkled the ivories non-stop in a piano marathon.
    • Anne Nickels tinkled the ivories for more than 12 hours as she performed all 798 hymns in the Mission Praise song book.
    • Bradman of course himself made a couple of recordings and he tinkled the ivories and people found that interesting.
  • 1.3 (ivories) • informal A person’s teeth.
    More example sentences
    • This new bathroom accessory pumps out a thin stream of water that can be regulated from a trickle to a jet. When turned on full blast, the jet of water flushes out food, tickles the ivories and massages the gums, giving a user the invigorating impression that he has just had his teeth professionally cleaned.
    • Like fake nails for the teeth, these thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored material are bonded permanently to your true ivories. Teeth must be filed and prepared to accommodate these shells, an irreversible process.
  • 2A creamy-white color.
    More example sentences
    • Olivia wore an ivory satin and net dress and carried a hand-tied bouquet of burgundy calla lilies.
    • The walls were a soft ivory and the ceiling was artistic, like those in Italian churches.
    • Softness emerged in flou with various artsy embroideries, and in a divine dress made from rows of frayed silk in ivory, brown and aqua.



More example sentences
  • A white iron and brass queen bed wears an ivoried patchwork quilt, or sometimes the colors of Provence.
  • It brought a thought of the more gentle, ivoried fingers that had played it and now play no more.
  • Then as the rut nears, the tips get ivoried from dragging through sandy scrapes while the bases get darker from pine pitch during rubbing and mock fighting.


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French ivurie, based on Latin ebur.

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