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lith·​ic ˈli-thik How to pronounce lithic (audio)
: of, relating to, or being a stone tool


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adjective combining form

: relating to or characteristic of a (specified) stage in humankind's use of stone as a cultural tool

Examples of lithic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The engraving was likely carved with a lithic tool, employing a combination of fine incisions to mark out the contours of the kite and pecking. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 2 Jan. 2024 The structure mirrors the content, which traces three related narratives: the history of Waldie’s family; the story of Lakewood and its development as a planned community; and the saga, lithic and otherwise, of the land itself. Boris Kachka, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2023 Their scalpels were likely the flaked lithic edges common to the era; the skeleton’s grave was associated with fine flakes of a stone called chert, which can produce extremely sharp edges. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Sep. 2022 For example, the Oldowan lithic technology persisted for ~1 million years. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 23 Sep. 2012 From both lithic and fossil evidence, this modern human occupation dates to older than 50,000 years ago, almost 10,000 years older than the previous record for modern humans in this region. Ryan McRae and Briana Pobiner, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Dec. 2022 Enlarge / Selection of flint lithic tools from the El Pendón ossuary: blades, geometric microliths, and arrowheads. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 24 Feb. 2022 Across this lithic landscape, a sly salamander slithers to steal a succulent grape. William A. Wallace, WSJ, 28 Jan. 2022 The other burns lithic landscapes, or fossilized biomass. Stephen Pyne, WSJ, 12 Dec. 2020

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

Word History



borrowed from Greek lithikós, from líthos "stone, rock" (of obscure origin) + -ikos -ic entry 1

Adjective combining form

from lithic, originally in neolithic and paleolithic

First Known Use


1797, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lithic was in 1797

Dictionary Entries Near lithic

Cite this Entry

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

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