ca·​li·​che kə-ˈlē-chē How to pronounce caliche (audio)
: the nitrate-bearing gravel or rock of the sodium nitrate deposits of Chile and Peru
: a crust of calcium carbonate that forms on the stony soil of arid regions

Examples of caliche in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The tortoise in the coal mine Biologist Bre Moyle easily spotted the small yellow flag affixed to a scraggly creosote bush — one of many hardy plants sprouting from the caliche soil, surrounded by rows of gleaming steel trusses that would soon hoist solar panels toward the sky. Sammy Roth, Anchorage Daily News, 2 July 2023 When Skeet Jones was sworn in as judge in 2007, most of the caliche roads were rutted like washboards and residents still had to line up to get potable water dispensed from a community tank. Susan Carroll, NBC News, 21 May 2022 The caliche road leads up to Hendrix’s small living quarters and spacious rustic areas used for workshops, concerts, performances and teaching. Hector Saldana, San Antonio Express-News, 20 Oct. 2021 Later that same year, the Valley again attracted widespread attention when 21 teenagers were killed in Alton after a school bus collided with a bottling company truck and careened into a caliche pit. Gilbert Garcia,, 5 Dec. 2020 Today, through Woodward’s efforts, the gravel road to the crossing has been improved and a large area has been cleared and covered with caliche. John MacCormack, San Antonio Express-News, 6 Nov. 2020 His home is about 20 miles from downtown Odessa, on an unmarked caliche road off of the Kermit Highway, amid nodding pump jacks and property covered with sage, mesquite and huisache trees. John MacCormack,, 2 Sep. 2019 Located across the street from partner The Venetian Resort, approximately 110,000 cubic yards of dirt and caliche are being moved to make way for what will be one of the most state-of-the-art live entertainment and sports complexes in the world. Melinda Sheckells, Billboard, 24 July 2019 In Presidio, Randy Kennedy’s debut novel, the landscape of the Panhandle, West Texas, and the Mexican border, with its caliche and shin oaks and pumpjacks and ocotillo, brushes alongside the plot like an intricate central character. Eve MacSweeney, Vogue, 17 Aug. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'caliche.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


American Spanish, from Spanish, flake of lime, from cal lime, from Latin calx — more at chalk

First Known Use

1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of caliche was in 1833

Dictionary Entries Near caliche

Cite this Entry

“Caliche.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on caliche

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!