hourglass

hourglass 1510s, from HOUR (Cf. hour) + GLASS (Cf. glass). Used 19c. in a variety of technical and scientific senses to describe the shape; reference to women's bodies is attested by 1897.
Men condemn corsets in the abstract, and are sometimes brave enough to insist that the women of their households shall be emancipated from them; and yet their eyes have been so generally educated to the approval of the small waist, and the hourglass figure, that they often hinder women who seek a hygienic style of dress. [Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, "The Story of My Life," 1898]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • hourglass — ► NOUN ▪ a device with two connected glass bulbs containing sand that takes an hour to fall from the upper to the lower bulb. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ shaped like an hourglass …   English terms dictionary

  • Hourglass — Hour glass , n. An instrument for measuring time, especially the interval of an hour. It consists of a glass vessel having two compartments, from the uppermost of which a quantity of sand, water, or mercury occupies an hour in running through a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • hourglass — UK [ˈaʊə(r)ˌɡlɑːs] / US [ˈaʊrˌɡlæs] noun [countable] Word forms hourglass : singular hourglass plural hourglasses a) a glass container that uses sand to measure one hour b) computing a symbol used in computer programs to show that the program is… …   English dictionary

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