mill·​stone | \ ˈmil-ˌstōn How to pronounce millstone (audio) \

Definition of millstone

1 : either of two circular stones used for grinding something (such as grain)
2a : something that grinds or crushes
b : a heavy burden

Examples of millstone in a Sentence

College loans can quickly become a millstone for students. The scandal has become a political millstone. The scandal has been a millstone around her neck.
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Recent Examples on the Web The downturn has already led to record-low Bank of England interest rates and money market bets on further cuts, another millstone for any gains in the currency. Vassilis Karamanis,, "Pound Traders Shut Out Brexit Talks Noise Until ‘Real Deadline’," 18 Oct. 2020 Cuba policy, which many older Cubans objected to, remains a millstone for Biden, some analysts said. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, "Biden is getting trounced with Cuban American voters in Florida, a trend that could tip the state to Trump," 15 Sep. 2020 That ideological posture would explain why Republican lawmakers haven’t backed efforts to keep the Postal Service afloat, let alone to remove the millstone around its neck. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Republicans’ Crimes Against Democracy," 5 Aug. 2020 Killing it, the mariner severs himself from the source of his being; the bird’s body is hung around his neck like a millstone. James Parker, The Atlantic, "‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,’ Rebooted," 13 May 2020 She is allowed a big scene near the end, which only underscores the fact that she has been employed to that point largely as a millstone. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Hollywood’ rewrites Tinseltown’s racist, sexist, homophobic past. It’s not convincing," 30 Apr. 2020 The radical Vermont senator would be viewed as a millstone around the neck of every moderate Democrat running in a swing state or district this fall. John Fund, National Review, "Bernie Remains the Democratic Front-runner," 1 Mar. 2020 That means that the perpetually money-losing Sprint will soon no longer be a millstone around the highly indebted SoftBank’s neck. New York Times, "Business Is Worried About Bernie. Should It Be?," 12 Feb. 2020 The Dodgers’ success will depend on their ability to keep their legs beneath them and their wits about them for a nine-inning referendum on their ability to manage baseball’s biggest millstone. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Dodgers have all the NLDS Game 5 advantages — and all the pressure," 8 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'millstone.' 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 millstone

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Millstone.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce millstone (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of millstone

: either one of two large, flat, round stones that are used for grinding grain in a mill
: a problem or responsibility that does not go away and that makes it difficult or impossible to do or achieve something


mill·​stone | \ ˈmil-ˌstōn How to pronounce millstone (audio) \

Kids Definition of millstone

: either of two large circular stones used for grinding grain

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