1. A dense, translucent, white or tinted fine-grained gypsum.
2. A variety of hard calcite, translucent and sometimes banded.
3. A pale yellowish pink to yellowish gray.
[Middle English alabastre, from Old French, from Latin alabaster, from Greek alabastros, alabastos, possibly of Egyptian origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.