AskDefine | Define marble

Dictionary Definition

marble

Noun

1 a hard crystalline metamorphic rock that takes a high polish; used for sculpture and as building material
2 a small ball of glass that is used in various games
3 a sculpture carved from marble v : paint or stain like marble; "marble paper"

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From Anglo-Norman and marbre, from marmor, from (perhaps related to ‘gleaming’). Much of the early classical marble came from the 'Marmaris' sea above the Aegean. The forms from French replaced Old English marma, which had already been borrowed directly from the Latin.

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. A rock of crystalline limestone.
    Open thy marble jaws, O tomb / And hide me, earth, in thy dark womb.—George Frederic Handel, Jeptha
  2. A small spherical ball of rock or glass used in children's games.

Translations

crystalline limestone
spherical ball

Extensive Definition

Marble is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism of limestone, composed mostly of calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3). It is extensively used for sculpture, as a building material, and in many other applications. The word "marble" is colloquially used to refer to many other stones that are capable of taking a high polish.
Faux marble or faux marbling is a wall painting technique that imitates the color patterns of real marble (not to be confused with paper marbling). Marble dust can be combined with cement or synthetic resins to make reconstituted or cultured marble.
Places named after the stone include Marblehead, Ohio; Marble Arch, London; the Sea of Marmara; India's Marble Rocks; and the towns of Marble, Minnesota; Marble, Colorado; and Marble Hill, Manhattan, New York. The Elgin Marbles are marble sculptures from the Parthenon that are on display in the British Museum. They were brought to Britain by the Earl of Elgin.

Etymology

The word "marble" derives from the Greek μάρμαρον (marmaron) and that from μάρμαρος (marmaros), "crystalline rock", "shining stone", perhaps from the verb μαρμαίρω (marmairō), "to flash, sparkle, gleam". This stem is also the basis for the English word "marmoreal" meaning "marble-like".

Origins

Marble is a metamorphic rock resulting from regional or rarely contact metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, either limestone or dolostone, or metamorphism of older marble. This metamorphic process causes a complete recrystallization of the original rock into an interlocking mosaic of calcite, aragonite and/or dolomite crystals. The temperatures and pressures necessary to form marble usually destroy any fossils and sedimentary textures present in the original rock.
Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of very pure limestones. The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally high magnesium limestone or dolostone with silica impurities. These various impurities have been mobilized and recrystallized by the intense pressure and heat of the metamorphism.

Types of marble

Some historically important kinds of marble, named after the locations of their quarries, include
White marbles, like Carrara in Italy, Royal White and Beijing White in China, have been prized for sculpture since classical times. This preference has to do with the softness and relative isotropy and homogeneity, and a relative resistance to shattering. Also, the low index of refraction of calcite allows light to penetrate several millimeters into the stone before being scattered out, resulting in the characteristic "waxy" look which gives "life" to marble sculptures of the human body.

Construction marble

In the construction, specifically the dimension stone trade, the term "marble" is used for any crystalline calcitic rock (and some non-calcitic rocks) useful as building stone. For example, "Tennessee marble" is really a dense granular fossiliferous gray to pink to maroon Ordovician limestone that geologists call the Holston Formation.

Industrial use of marble

Colorless or light-colored marbles are a very pure source of calcium carbonate, which is used in a wide variety of industries. Finely ground marble or calcium carbonate powder is a component in paper, and in consumer products such as toothpaste, plastics, and paints. Ground calcium carbonate can be made from limestone, chalk, and marble; about three-quarters of the ground calcium carbonate worldwide is made from marble. Ground calcium carbonate is used as a coating pigment for paper because of its high brightness and as a paper filler because it strengthens the sheet and imparts high brightness. Ground calcium carbonate is used in consumer products such as a food additive, in toothpaste, and as an inert filler in pills. It is used in plastics because it imparts stiffness, impact strength, dimensional stability, and thermal conductivity. It is used in paints because it is a good filler and extender, has high brightness, and is weather resistant. However, the growth in demand for ground calcium carbonate in the last decade has mostly been for a coating pigment in paper.
Calcium carbonate can also be reduced under high heat to calcium oxide (also known as "lime"), which has many applications including being a primary component of many forms of cement.

Production

According to the United States Geological Survey, U.S. dimension marble production in 2006 was 46,400 tons valued at $18.1 million, compared to 72,300 tons valued at $18.9 million in 2005. Crushed marble production (for aggregate and industrial uses) in 2006 was 11.8 million tons valued at $116 million, of which 6.5 million tons was finely ground calcium carbonate and the rest was construction aggregate. For comparison, 2005 crushed marble production was 7.76 million tons valued at $58.7 million, of which 4.8 million tons was finely ground calcium carbonate and the rest was construction aggregate. U.S. dimension marble demand is about 1.3 million tons. The DSAN World Demand for (finished) Marble Index has shown a growth of 12% annually for the 2000-2006 period, compared to 10.5% annually for the 2000–2005 period. The largest dimension marble application is tile.

Cultural associations

As the favorite medium for Greek and Roman sculptors and architects (see classical sculpture), marble has become a cultural symbol of tradition and refined taste. Its extremely varied and colorful patterns make it a favorite decorative material, and it is often imitated in background patterns for computer displays, etc.
In folklore, marble is associated with the astrological sign of Gemini. Pure white marble is an emblem of purity. It is also an emblem of immortality, and an insurer of success in education.

See also

marble in Arabic: رخام
marble in Bulgarian: Мрамор
marble in Catalan: Marbre
marble in Czech: Mramor
marble in Welsh: Marmor
marble in Danish: Marmor
marble in German: Marmor
marble in Estonian: Marmor
marble in Modern Greek (1453-): Μάρμαρο
marble in Spanish: Mármol
marble in Esperanto: Marmoro
marble in Basque: Haitzurdin
marble in French: Marbre
marble in Galician: Mármore
marble in Korean: 대리암
marble in Ido: Marmoro
marble in Indonesian: Marmer
marble in Italian: Marmo
marble in Hebrew: שיש
marble in Hindi: संगमर्मर
marble in Georgian: მარმარილო
marble in Swahili (macrolanguage): Marumaru
marble in Latin: Marmor
marble in Lithuanian: Marmuras
marble in Limburgan: Marmer
marble in Hungarian: Márvány
marble in Dutch: Marmer
marble in Japanese: 大理石
marble in Norwegian: Marmor
marble in Norwegian Nynorsk: Marmor
marble in Polish: Marmur
marble in Portuguese: Mármore
marble in Romanian: Marmură
marble in Quechua: Pachar
marble in Russian: Мрамор
marble in Sicilian: Màrmuru
marble in Simple English: Marble
marble in Slovak: Mramor
marble in Slovenian: Marmor
marble in Serbian: Мермер
marble in Finnish: Marmori
marble in Swedish: Marmor
marble in Thai: หินอ่อน
marble in Tajik: Мармар
marble in Turkish: Mermer
marble in Ukrainian: Мармур
marble in Chinese: 大理岩

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Dalmatian, adamant, agate, alabaster, antigorite, argent, argentine, ball, band, bar, baseball bat, bat, battledore, bauble, bespangle, bespeckle, bespot, billiard table, blocks, blotch, bone, bony, bowling alley, bowling green, brick, bronze, butterfly, candy cane, canescent, cast, cement, cemental, chalky, chameleon, check, checker, checkerboard, cheetah, chessboard, chrysotile, club, cockhorse, concrete, confetti, corneous, crazy quilt, cretaceous, cricket bat, cue, dapple, dense, diamond, diamondlike, doll, doll carriage, dot, dure, firedog, flake, flat, fleck, fleecy-white, flint, flintlike, flinty, freckle, frosted, frosty, gewgaw, gimcrack, glass, golf club, granite, granitelike, granitic, grizzled, grizzly, hard, hard as nails, hardhearted, harlequin, heart of oak, hoar, hoary, hobbyhorse, horny, ice, iris, iron, iron-hard, ironlike, ivory, jack-in-the-box, jacks, jackstones, jackstraws, jaguar, kickshaw, knickknack, lactescent, lapideous, leopard, level, lily-white, lithoid, lithoidal, mackerel, mackerel sky, maculate, mahogany, marbled paper, marbleize, marblelike, marionette, marmoreal, mig, milky, mobile, moire, mother-of-pearl, motley, mottle, nacre, nails, niveous, oak, obdurate, ocelot, opal, ophite, osseous, paper doll, patchwork quilt, peacock, pepper, pick-up sticks, pinwheel, plane, platinum, plaything, polychrome, polychromize, puppet, pure white, racket, rag doll, rainbow, resistant, resistive, rock, rocking horse, rocklike, rocky, satin, sculpture, serpentine, serpentine marble, shot silk, silk, silver, silvered, silvery, slide, smooth, snow-white, snowy, solid, spangle, speck, speckle, spectrum, splotch, sport, spot, sprinkle, stabile, statue, steel, steelie, steellike, steely, stigmatize, stipple, stone, stonelike, stony, streak, striate, stripe, stud, swan-white, tattoo, taw, teetotum, tennis court, terra cotta, tessellate, top, tortoise shell, tough, toy, toy soldier, trinket, variegate, vein, velvet, whim-wham, white, white as snow, zebra
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