Share this entry

Share this page

stalactite

Syllabification: sta·lac·tite
Pronunciation: /stəˈlakˌtīt
 
/

Definition of stalactite in English:

noun

A tapering structure hanging like an icicle from the roof of a cave, formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water. Compare with stalagmite.
Example sentences
  • Originally formed by a subterranean stream, then flooded by the sea, it is a rare opportunity to dive in salt water among stalactites and stalagmites.
  • When a stalactite or stalagmite is deposited it contains a large amount of uranium and no thorium because of differences in the chemical behaviour of these elements.
  • He was in a cave, stalactites and stalagmites all around him.

Origin

late 17th century: from modern Latin stalactites, from Greek stalaktos 'dripping', based on stalassein 'to drip'.

More
  • Stalactites hang down from the roof of a cave. The name comes from Greek stalaktos ‘dropping or dripping’. Stalagmites (late 17th century), on the other hand, rise up from the floor of a cave, formed from the evaporated dripping from above. Greek stalagma ‘a drop or drip’ is the source this time.

Derivatives

stalactitic

1
Pronunciation: /ˌstaləkˈtitik/
adjective
Example sentences
  • Also noteworthy are the rare stalactitic overgrowths to 20 cm of pale to medium green fluorite cubes formed along earlier ‘strings’ of whitish finely crystalline quartz.
  • These early-formed needles often serve as nuclei for the stalactitic growth of other minerals, usually thomsonite or chabazite.
  • These larger crystals sometimes exhibit a pagoda-like appearance with circumferential ridges and are somewhat stalactitic in habit.

Words that rhyme with stalactite

magnetiteappetite

Definition of stalactite in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day odium
Pronunciation: ˈəʊdɪəm
noun
widespread hatred or disgust for someone…