1. A massive, compact limestone; a variety of calcite, capable of being polished and used for architectural and ornamental purposes. The colour varies from white to black, being sometimes yellow, red, and green, and frequently beautifully veined or clouded. The name is also given to other rocks of like use and appearance, as serpentine or verd antique marble, and less properly to polished porphyry, granite, etc.
Breccia marble consists of limestone fragments cemented together. Ruin marble, when polished, shows forms resembling ruins, due to disseminated iron oxide. Shell marble contains fossil shells. Statuary marble is a pure, white, fine-grained kind, including Parian (from Paros) and Carrara marble. If coarsely granular it is called saccharoidal.
Marble is also much used in self-explaining compounds; when used figuratively in compounds it commonly means, hard, cold, destitute of compassion or feeling; as, marble-breasted, marble-faced, marble-hearted.
Origin: OE. Marbel, marbre, F. Marbre, L. Marmor, fr. Gr, fr. To sparkle, flash. Cf. Marmoreal.
(01 Mar 1998)
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