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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. (Science: chemical) a compact variety or sulphate of lime, or gypsum, of fine texture, and usually white and translucent, but sometimes yellow, red, or gray. It is carved into vases, mantel ornaments, etc. A hard, compact variety of carbonate of lime, somewhat translucent, or of banded shades of colour; stalagmite. The name is used in this sense by Pliny. It is sometimes distinguished as oriental alabaster.

2. A box or vessel for holding odouriferous ointments, etc.; so called from the stone of which it was originally made.

Origin: L. Alabaster, gr, said to be derived fr. Alabastron, the name of a town in egypt, near which it was common: cf. OF. Alabastre, f. Albatre.