chon·​drule ˈkän-(ˌ)drül How to pronounce chondrule (audio)
: a rounded granule of cosmic origin often found embedded in meteoric stones and sometimes free in marine sediments

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Understanding chondrule formation could, in other words, reveal our solar system’s earliest moments. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, 8 Dec. 2020 Most chondrule scientists fall into one of two camps. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, 8 Dec. 2020

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

Word History


chondrus, earlier term for a chondrule (borrowed from Greek chóndros "grain of wheat, salt, etc.") + -ule — more at chondro-

Note: The term chondrule was apparently first used by American geologists; the earliest published use is perhaps in Edward S. Dana and Samuel L. Penfield, "On two hitherto undescribed Meteoric Stones," American Journal of Science, 3rd series, vol. 33 (1886), p. 227: "The olivine is the most prominent constituent. This appears frequently in spherules or 'chondrules' of the size of very small shot …" Chondrus (plural chondri or, irregularly, chondra) occurs earlier, as in Walter Flight's translation ("The Formation of Meteorites, and Volcanic Agency," The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 5th series, no. 1, Supplement, June, 1876, pp. 497-507) of an article by the Austrian mineralogist Gustav Tschermak von Seysenegg, "Die Bildung der Meteoriten und der Vulcanismus" (Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe, 71. Band, 2. Abtheilung (1875), pp. 661-673). Flight translates Kügelchen in Tschermak's German text as both "spherules" and "chondra." At around the same time German-language authors use the word with the plural form Chondren, either independently or following Anglo-American writers (see, for example, Carl Gümbel, "Ueber die in Bayern gefundenen Steinmeteoriten," Sitzungsberichte der mathematisch-physikalischen Classe der k.b. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München, Band 8, Jahrgang 1878, pp. 14-72).

First Known Use

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chondrule was circa 1889

Dictionary Entries Near chondrule

Cite this Entry

“Chondrule.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2023.

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