OB'ELISK, n. [L. obeliscus; Gr. a spit.]

1. A truncated, quadrangular and slender pyramid intended as an ornament, and often charged with inscriptions or hieroglyphics. Some ancient obelisks appear to have been erected in honor of distinguished persons or their achievements. Ptolemy Philadelphus raised one of 88 cubits high in honor of Arsinee. Augustus erected one in the Campus Martius at Rome, which served to mark the hours on a horizontal dial drawn on the pavement.

2. In writing and printing; a reference or mark referring the reader to a note in the margin. It is used also for a mark of censure, or for designating obsolete words, or for other purposes at the pleasure of the writer.