- a hard semiprecious stone, a variety of chalcedony, with striped or clouded coloring
- any of various tools having agate parts, as a burnishing instrument with a tip of agate
- a little ball made of this stone or of glass, used in playing marbles
- a former small size of printing type, 5 points
Origin of agateMiddle English agaten ; from Old French agate ; from Medieval Latin ; from Classical Latin achates ; from Classical Greek achatēs ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
- A fine-grained, fibrous variety of chalcedony with colored bands or irregular clouding.
- A playing marble made of agate or a glass imitation of it; an aggie.
- A tool with agate parts, such as a burnisher tipped with agate.
- Printing A type size, about 5 1/2 points.
Origin of agateMiddle English achate, agaten, from Old French acate, agate, alteration (influenced by Greek agathē, good) of Latin achātēs, from Greek akhātēs.
(countable and uncountable, plural agates)
- (countable, uncountable, mineralogy) A semi-pellucid, uncrystallized variety of quartz, presenting various tints in the same specimen, with colors delicately arranged in stripes or bands, or blended in clouds.
- (uncountable, US, printing) 5.5-point size of type, larger than pearl and smaller than nonpareil; in England called ruby.
- (countable) A tool used by gold-wire drawers, bookbinders, etc.;—so called from the agate fixed in it for burnishing.
From Middle French agathe, from Latin achatēs, from Ancient Greek ἀχάτης (akhatēs, “agate”).
- (obsolete) On the way; agoing.
- to be agate; to set the bells agate
a- (“on”) + gate (“way”)