Definition of ebony in English:



  • 1Heavy blackish or very dark brown timber from a mainly tropical tree.

    • ‘Carved vines snaked their way up the posts, twining round the dark ebony.’
    • ‘The ebony veneered case was probably made by one of the other Flemish artisans active in Rome in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.’
    • ‘The table they had set up was dark ebony with rather comfy chairs surrounding it.’
    • ‘One of the main features is the red ebony solid timber in the staircase and ground flooring.’
    • ‘The bed itself was framed in dark ebony, its dusky twists spiraling towards the ceiling, while the rest of the room was swathed in black and shades of maroon and blood red.’
    • ‘He also incorporated decorative details such as string inlays of contrasting woods, usually holly and ebony.’
    • ‘He was truthfully longing to sit in the King's throne, a large ornate thing, ebony and mahogany edged with gold and silver.’
    • ‘Special attention was given to the altar screen, which is made using an extremely complicated technique of thin and delicately carved ivory, ebony and mahogany plates.’
    • ‘Before she left, she was given an array of presents from former students, including an ebony carving of a Masai family.’
    • ‘The Indian furniture was usually of ebony, padouk, or rosewood with the floral borders and motifs either inlaid or engraved on ivory veneer.’
    • ‘The grain-painted case imitates mahogany and ebony inlay, and the face is decorated with Masonic imagery.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Castings with a pedestal of ebony or mahogany add grandeur to the commission.’
    • ‘The serving table, attributed to Thomas Seymour, is topped by two extremely rare American knife cases that employ charred poplar to simulate ebony.’
    • ‘Fingering the silver skull on the top of his ebony walking stick, he waited.’
    • ‘Once in a while the really dense woods, such as boxwood and ebony can fool me, and I really have to work hard to tell the difference between Madasgar and Honduras rosewood.’
    • ‘It is usually much less ambitious and is most frequently found in small self-contained panels set within veneers of walnut, olive, or ebony.’
    • ‘A young, auburn-haired woman sat in an ebony rocking chair.’
    • ‘Recorders are made from hardwoods such as maple, rosewood, or ebony as well as the plastic versions.’
    • ‘Its paleness escapes looking bland thanks to contrasting inlays of ebony, walnut and amboyna, a wood distinguished by bird's eye curls.’
    1. 1.1A very dark brown or black color.
      ‘his smile flashed against the ebony of his skin’
      [as modifier] ‘his ebony hair’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of their hair is dyed ebony black along with their fingernails.’
      • ‘It really stood out because of her ebony coloured hair.’
      • ‘An elf entered the room - a tall elf in a robe of ebony with jet raven hair and black eyes appearing darker than even the room had felt.’
      • ‘I'm that student with the blonde hair and stunning ebony black eyes.’
      • ‘He was standing on the front step, his emerald green eyes once again veiled by his curtain of ebony black hair.’
      • ‘With his bright blue sapphire eyes and ebony black spiked hair he stunned the school's female population, excluding Amanda and her friends.’
      • ‘One creature looked sort of elfish, except for its darker dark navy color that was almost ebony.’
      • ‘His eyes were blue and shone through a shock of thick ebony black hair.’
      • ‘Donna was probably the third most beautiful with her ebony black hair and dark, mysterious eyes.’
      • ‘The dark brown colour of his eyes matched his ebony hair.’
      • ‘One of them had ebony black skin and a pierced ear.’
      • ‘The walls were stained with dark colors like crimson and ebony.’
      • ‘She was a beauty at Nineteen with long black ebony hair, with silver high light that flowed down the center of her back stopping with a neat trim at her waist.’
      • ‘Jonathan strode in, his black cloak swirling around him, his dark ebony hair disheveled by the wind.’
      • ‘Her ebony black hair was loose on her shoulders and I noticed that she wore no make up.’
      • ‘She remembered the way he looked when she'd first met him-like a dark God, his ebony body tall and strong, hard and sweaty.’
      • ‘Strangely though, the child has ebony black hair… darker than his mother's.’
      • ‘Blue eyeshadow painted her eyelids while dark ebony traced her closed eyes.’
      • ‘A cape was draped upon his broad shoulders, a dark shade of ebony as well, in a circle around him reaching mid back and joined in the front by a large red jewel set in silver.’
      black, jet-black, pitch-black, coal-black, ink-black, black as night, black as pitch, sable, inky, sooty, raven, dark
      View synonyms
  • 2A tree of tropical and warm-temperate regions that produces ebony.

    • ‘Many of the islands are mountainous and heavily forested with teak, ebony, and sandalwood.’
    1. 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.