Definition of obelisk in English:



  • 1A tapering stone pillar, typically having a square or rectangular cross section, set up as a monument or landmark.

    • ‘All I could see, from a distance, were numerous hands vigorously hurling stones at the aforementioned obelisk.’
    • ‘Over the past few years, the English archaeologist David Philipson has uncovered a dense underground network of burial chambers and connecting tunnels below them, proof that the obelisks were funeral monuments.’
    • ‘From the orange obelisk monument of Ohakune, to the corrugated iron sheep and dog combo, outlandish structures remind us of the cargo-cult of tourism and a need to be noticed.’
    • ‘For instance, in 1676 the academicians of Aries undertook the reconstruction of a Roman obelisk excavated nearby under the supervision of the academy.’
    • ‘More than one-quarter of Australia's civic memorials are obelisks or columns - traditional cemetery forms.’
    • ‘Tall, stone obelisks and stellae exemplify the building skills of the people.’
    • ‘Travelers to Egypt are still impressed with its great pyramids, slender obelisks and avenues of monuments.’
    • ‘Most of its grandeur - all that street furniture of pillars, obelisks and pyramids - is the work of one man: Joze Plecnik, who studied in Prague.’
    • ‘Porterfield ventures to propose that the obelisk was ‘a monument that advanced the culture and politics of an era, not a regime’.’
    • ‘Thus, at Treblinka, the memorial to those killed consists of 17,000 granite shards surrounding a large obelisk broken down the middle.’
    • ‘The battle site was for many years recorded by a stone obelisk which stood on the bank of the river at Oldbridge but which was blown up in the early years of the 20th century.’
    • ‘Jordan arrived at work yesterday to find a stone obelisk in front of the restaurant toppled over.’
    • ‘High above a hill in Oakwood Cemetery at Troy, New York, stands a huge obelisk, a monument to the life of Maj.’
    • ‘The sad truth is that she's barely mentioned in the 3,000 years of effigies and hieroglyphics that cover the towering columns, needle-like obelisks and endless sarcophagi.’
    • ‘Finally in 1885 it was replaced by an obelisk known as Flinders' Column.’
    • ‘Lengthening shadows cast by giant stone structures, like obelisks or the pillars of Stonehenge, were used by ancient civilizations to measure time.’
    • ‘‘The obelisk is a remarkable landmark, but made even more important because it was one of the first such monuments to be built,’ he said.’
    • ‘Living in north Alton as a child, I played in the Confederate cemetery, both tree-shaded and open, green and lovely, with a granite obelisk monument to the dead.’
    • ‘I walked from the fort site three miles to the stone obelisk marking the place where Captain Fetterman and his men met their end in 1866.’
    • ‘Work involved the repair and cleaning of headstones, above-ground chambers, obelisks and monuments together with the construction of boundary walls and ornate railings.’
    column, pillar, needle, shaft, monolith, monument, memorial
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A mountain, tree, or other natural object resembling an obelisk in shape.
  • 2

    another term for obelus
    • ‘Scholarly notes are usually signalled by superscript numbers at appropriate points in a text, but such symbols as asterisks and obelisks may be used instead for footnotes.’


Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek obeliskos, diminutive of obelos pointed pillar.