\ˈflint \

Definition of flint 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a massive hard dark quartz that produces a spark when struck by steel

2 : an implement of flint used in prehistoric cultures

3a : a piece of flint

b : a material used for producing a spark especially : an alloy (as of iron and cerium) used in lighters

4 : something resembling flint in hardness


biographical name
\ˈflint \

Definition of Flint (Entry 2 of 3)

Austin: father 1812–1886 and son 1836–1915 American physicians


geographical name
\ˈflint \

Definition of Flint (Entry 3 of 3)

1 river 265 miles (426 kilometers) long in western Georgia flowing south and southwest into Lake Seminole

2 city in southeast central Michigan north-northwest of Detroit population 102,434

3 or Flintshire \ˈflint-ˌshir, -shər \ administrative area of northeastern Wales bordering England and the Irish Sea area 169 square miles (438 square kilometers), population 152,506

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Other Words from flint


flintlike \ˈflint-ˌlīk \ adjective

It Isn't Hard to Learn the Meaning of Flint

A somewhat impure variety of quartz, flint is usually gray to brown or nearly black in color. It is very hard, producing a spark when struck with steel. Flint provided one of the main sources of tools and weapons for Stone Age people. It is used today as an abrasive agent on sandpapers and in mills that grind raw materials for the ceramic and paint industries.

Examples of flint in a Sentence


the flint in a cigarette lighter

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are lids festooned with flint arrowheads, Civil War Minie balls, Amtrak train keys, Pez dispensers — even $1 million in shredded greenbacks from the Federal Reserve Bank in San Antonio. Allen G. Breed, BostonGlobe.com, "The ‘King of the Commode’ seeks an heir to his thrones," 22 May 2018 The blade was made of a hard, dark rock called chert that is similar to flint. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "The Final Hours of the Iceman’s Tools," 21 June 2018 The Port of Dover lurks in the shadow of the chalk and flint. Georgina Voss, The Atlantic, "Brexit Could Cripple Britain’s Ports," 20 June 2018 At Middle and Lower Paleolithic sites across Europe and the Middle East, for example, archaeologists have found several flint and chert flakes with lines etched into the stones' chalky outer layer—the cortex. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Neanderthals etched a message on this 36,000-year-old stone tool," 3 May 2018 There are lids festooned with flint arrowheads, Civil War Minie balls, Amtrak train keys, Pez dispensers — even $1 million in shredded greenbacks from the Federal Reserve Bank in San Antonio. Allen G. Breed, chicagotribune.com, "The 'King of the Commode' seeks an heir to his thrones," 23 May 2018 Ed Reiter held a piece of flint in one hand and a piece of steel in the other, striking them together to create sparks that would light some tinder. Gloria Casas, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin Civil War Experience offers window to both national and local history," 9 June 2018 The use of flints to start fire may have occurred as far back as 400,000 years ago, but concrete evidence only comes from as recently as 40,000 years ago. Andrew C. Scott, Time, "When Did Humans Discover Fire? The Answer Depends on What You Mean By 'Discover'," 1 June 2018 Discover the history and art of flint knapping, and learn how archaeologists identify and date these tools. Courant Community, "Community News For The Windham Edition," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flint.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flint


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flint


Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German flins pebble, hard stone

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Statistics for flint

Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for flint

The first known use of flint was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for flint



English Language Learners Definition of flint

: a hard type of rock that produces a small piece of burning material (called a spark) when it is hit by steel

: a piece of flint

: a piece of metal used for producing a spark


\ˈflint \

Kids Definition of flint

: a very hard stone that produces a spark when struck by steel

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Comments on flint

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