One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Alabaster; specifically oriental alabaster (onyx marble), used for artefacts in ancient times.
Late 16th century. From classical Latin alabastrītēs onyx, stalagmite (Pliny) from Hellenistic Greek ἀλαβαστρίτης (also ἀλαβαστίτης) calcitic alabaster, use as noun (short for ἀλαβαστρίτης λίθος alabastrite stone) of ἀλαβαστρίτης, adjective from ancient Greek ἀλάβαστρος + -ίτης.
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