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[ouuh r-glas, -glahs, ou-er-] /ˈaʊərˌglæs, -ˌglɑs, ˈaʊ ər-/

an instrument for measuring time, consisting of two bulbs of joined by a narrow passage through which a quantity of sand or mercury runs in just an .
having a notably slim or narrow waist, midsection, or joining segment:
She has an hourglass figure.
a device consisting of two transparent chambers linked by a narrow channel, containing a quantity of sand that takes a specified time to trickle to one chamber from the other
(modifier) well-proportioned with a small waist: an hourglass figure

1510s, from hour + 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]


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  • Hourglass contraction

    hourglass contraction hour·glass contraction (our’glās’) n. Constriction of the middle portion of a hollow organ, such as the stomach or the uterus.

  • Hourglass murmur

    hourglass murmur n. A murmur in which there are two areas of maximum loudness, one preceding and the other following a softer midpoint. Its graph resembles an hourglass.

  • Hourglass stomach

    hourglass stomach n. A condition in which there is an abnormal constriction of the stomach wall dividing it into two cavities, cardiac and pyloric.

  • Hour-hand

    noun 1. the hand that indicates the hours on a clock or watch. noun 1. the pointer on a timepiece that indicates the hour Compare minute hand, second hand

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