Definition of stela in English:


nounplural noun stelae/-ˌlē/

  • An upright stone slab or column typically bearing a commemorative inscription or relief design, often serving as a gravestone.

    ‘Scribes carved hieroglyphs on stone stelae, altars, wooden lintels, and roof beams, or painted them on ceramic vessels and in books made of bark paper.’
    • ‘The sites are fascinating for their pyramids, sculpture, frescoes and stelae (carved stone slabs depicting various ceremonies).’
    • ‘Many of these Han burials were readily identifiable by inscribed stone stelae, tablets recording the name, titles, and dates of the deceased.’
    • ‘At each corner of the square slab stood four upright stelae.’
    • ‘There are building stones for temples and pyramids; ornamental stones for vessels, stelae, sarcophagi, statues and other sculptures; and precious stones for jewelry.’



/ˈstēlə/ /ˈstilə/


Late 18th century via Latin from Greek (see stele).