• (British) IPA: /ˈmɑːbəl/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈmɑɹbəl/


  1. (uncountable, rock) A rock of crystalline limestone.
    Hypernyms: limestone
    • 1751, Thomas Morell (librettist), Jephtha (Handel):
      Open thy marble jaws, O tomb / And hide me, earth, in thy dark womb.
  2. (countable, games) A small ball, usually of glass or ceramic.
  3. (countable, art) An artwork made from marble.
    The Elgin Marbles were originally part of the temple of the Parthenon.
Translations Translations
  • French: bille
  • German: Murmel
  • Italian: biglia, pallina
  • Portuguese: bola de gude, berlinde
  • Russian: ша́рик
  • Spanish: canica, balita (Paraguay), bola (Cuba), bola de cristal (Colombian regional usage), bola de vidrio (Puerto Rico), boliche (Canary Islands), bolincha (Costa Rica), bolindre (Southwestern Spain), bolita (Argentina), cachina (Bolivia), chibola (El Salvador), mable (Honduras), maule (Honduras), mebli (Southern Spain), metra (Venezuela), picha (Eastern Venezuela)

marble (marbles, present participle marbling; past and past participle marbled)

  1. (transitive) To cause (something to have) the streaked or swirled appearance of certain types of marble, for example by mixing viscous ingredients incompletely, or by applying paint or other colorants unevenly.
    Synonyms: marbleize
    • 1774, William Hutchinson, An excursion to the lakes in Westmoreland and Cumberland, August, 1773, page 29:
      The small clouds which chequered the sky, as they passed along, spread their flitting shadows on the distant mountains, and seemed to marble them; a beauty which I do not recollect has struck any painter.
    • 1899, Thirteenth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, volume 1, page 106:
      In the operation of marbling the edges of the books, [...]
  2. (intransitive) To get or have the streaked or swirled appearance of certain types of marble, for example due to the incomplete mixing of viscous ingredients, or the uneven application of paint or other colorants.
    • 2007, Alicia Grosso, The Everything Soapmaking Book: Recipes and Techniques, page 125:
      Scent the entire batch and then color half with the blue colorant. Pour both parts back into your soap pot. Do not stir. Pour in a circular motion into a block mold. The pouring action will cause the soap to marble.
  3. (transitive) To cause meat, usually beef, pork, or lamb, to be interlaced with fat so that its appearance resembles that of marble.
    Synonyms: marbleize
    • 1848, Samuel D. Martin, in a letter to the Albany Cultivator, quoted in the Fourteenth Annual Report of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture (for the year 1859; published 1860), page 157 ↗:
      Their flesh is soft (tender), and they throw a portion of their fat among the lean so as to marble it. The beef is of a better quality and they take on fat much easier.
    • 1904, Annual Report of the Wisconsin State Board of Agriculture for the year 1903, page 309:
      The Merino sheep is likely to put his weight largely into tallow around the stomach, intestines and on his kidneys, instead of mixing fairly with the meat, instead of marbling the meat.
    • 2004, Mary Ellen Snodgrass, Encyclopedia of kitchen history, page 684:
      Either by forcing the lardoon out with a plunger, by pushing it with a knife point, or by trailing it behind the needle, the cook artificially marbles the meat. For French cooks intent on larding, traditionally, the choice fat was the lard gras (pork fat).
  4. (intransitive, of meat, especially beef) To become interlaced with fat; (of fat) to interlace through meat.
    • 1999, Kathleen Jo Ryan, Deep in the heart of Texas: Texas ranchers in their own words, page 99:
      We've gone mostly to black bulls — Angus bulls because today the packers like black cattle. They seem to marble better.
    • 1972, Sondra Gotlieb, The Gourmet’s Canada, page 129:
      The exercising of the cattle causes the fat to marble right through the animal — and much of the flavour is found in the fat.
  5. (by extension, figurative) To lace or be laced throughout.
    • 1993, Susan Napier, Winter of Dreams, page 52:
      Was he the reason for the bitterness that seemed to marble her character?
    • 2004, Scott Bevan, Battle Lines: Australian Artists at War:
      'Nobody who has been to war ever talks about it,' he says. But then he does talk, and generously, mining his memory and following the vein of a life marbled with experience: 'I mean, I am in my nineties; […] '
Related terms Translations Adjective


  1. Made of, or resembling, marble.
    a marble mantel
    marble paper
  2. (figurative) Cold; hard; unfeeling.
    a marble heart

Proper noun
  1. Surname

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