1. A vessel adapted for various domestic purposes, and anciently for sacrificial used; especially, a vessel of antique or elegant pattern used for ornament; as, a porcelain vase; a gold vase; a Grecian vase. No chargers then were wrought in burnished gold, Nor silver vases took the forming mold. (pope)
2. A vessel similar to that described in the first definition above, or the representation of one in a solid block of stone, or the like, used for an ornament, as on a terrace or in a garden. The body, or naked ground, of the Corinthian and composite capital; called also tambour, and drum.
Until the time of walker (1791), vase was made to rhyme with base, case, etc, and it is still commonly so pronounced in the united states. Walker made it to rhyme with phrase, maze, etc. Of modern english practice, Mr. A. J. Ellis (1874) says: Vase has four pronunciations in English:, which I most commonly say, is going out of use I hear most frequently, very rarely, and I only know from Cull’s marking. On the analogy of case, however, it should be the regular sound.
3. (Science: botany) The calyx of a plant.
Origin: F. Vase; cf. Sp. & It. Vaso; fr. L. Vas, vasum. Cf. Vascular, Vessel.