Definition of IVORY


Ivory is a noun that refers to a hard, creamy-white substance derived from the tusks of certain animals, primarily elephants and walruses. It is valued for its smooth texture, durability, and ability to be carved into intricate designs. Here are several key aspects associated with the term ivory:

Natural Material: Ivory is a natural material composed mainly of dentin, a dense tissue found in the teeth and tusks of animals. The most sought-after ivory comes from the tusks of elephants, which are elongated upper incisor teeth. Ivory can also be obtained from the tusks of other animals, such as walruses, hippopotamuses, narwhals, and some species of whales, although elephant ivory is the most prized and valuable.

Historical Significance: Throughout history, ivory has been highly prized for its aesthetic and practical qualities, making it a symbol of luxury, wealth, and prestige. It has been used in various cultures for millennia to create ornamental objects, religious artifacts, musical instruments, and decorative items. The use of ivory in art and craftsmanship dates back to ancient civilizations, including those in Africa, Asia, and Europe, where it was revered for its beauty and rarity.

Artistic Medium: Ivory is prized by artisans and craftsmen for its workability and ability to hold intricate details when carved. It has been used to create a wide range of artistic masterpieces, including sculptures, figurines, jewelry, and decorative carvings. Ivory carving is a traditional art form practiced by skilled artisans in many cultures, with techniques passed down through generations. However, the demand for ivory has also led to the exploitation of elephants and other animals, raising ethical and conservation concerns.

Ivory is a valuable and historically significant material that has been prized for its beauty and versatility for thousands of years. While it has been used to create exquisite works of art and craftsmanship, the trade in ivory has also contributed to the decline of elephant populations and raised ethical and conservation concerns. By promoting sustainable alternatives and implementing measures to combat illegal poaching and trafficking, efforts can be made to protect endangered species and preserve the cultural heritage associated with ivory.

IVORY in a sentence

  • The intricately carved ivory statue displayed in the museum showcased the craftsmanship of ancient cultures.
  • The wedding gown was a stunning shade of ivory, creating a timeless and elegant look for the bride.
  • The musician’s fingers glided effortlessly across the ivory keys of the grand piano, producing a melody that captivated the audience.
  • The international trade of elephant ivory has been widely criticized for contributing to the decline of elephant populations.
  • The antique shop featured a collection of delicate jewelry adorned with intricately carved bone and faux ivory.
  • In some regions, the use of traditional medicine involves the utilization of animal ivory, raising concerns about conservation and ethical practices.
  • The dentist recommended regular cleanings to maintain the natural brightness of the patient’s ivory-colored teeth.
  • The artist chose to work with sustainable alternatives, using vegetable-based materials that mimicked the appearance of real ivory in the sculpture.

Origin of IVORY

The word ivory has an etymology rooted in the Latin language. Here is a brief overview:

  • Latin Origins: The word ivory can be traced back to the Latin term “eboreus” or “ebur,” which refers to ivory or anything made of ivory.
  • Old French Influence: In the transition to Old French, the term evolved to “ivoire,” which retained its association with the precious material.
  • Middle English Adoption: The word made its way into Middle English as “ivorie” or “yvoire” around the 14th century, still maintaining its reference to the material obtained from the tusks of certain animals.
  • Greek Connection: The Latin term “ebur” itself likely has roots in the Greek word “elephas,” meaning ivory or elephant. This reflects the importance of elephants in the production of ivory.
  • Further Historical Influences: The demand for ivory has historically been associated with luxury, craftsmanship, and artistry, making the term ivory symbolic of rare and valuable materials.

The etymology reflects the historical significance of ivory as a highly prized and sought-after material, often associated with art, craftsmanship, and cultural expression.



  • Ebony
  • Jet
  • Coal
  • Charcoal
  • Onyx
  • Sable
  • Black
  • Obsidian


  • Carving
  • Sculpture
  • Craftsmanship
  • Antique
  • Conservation
  • Tusker
  • Trade
  • Tusked

🌐 🇬🇧 IVORY in other languages

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