type of stone much used in sculpture, monuments, etc., early 14c., by dissimilation from marbra (mid-12c.), from Old French marbre (which itself underwent dissimilation of 2nd -r- to -l- in 14c.; marbre persisted in English into early 15c.), from Latin marmor, from or cognate with Greek marmaros "marble, gleaming stone," of unknown origin, perhaps originally an adjective meaning "sparkling," which would connect it with marmairein "to shine." The Latin word was taken directly into Old English as marma. German Marmor is restored Latin from Old High German marmul. Meaning "little balls of marble used in a children's game" is attested from 1690s.