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

Liverpool lifted a huge millstone of pressure from their necks with their Champions League success., "Simon Mignolet: Why Liverpool Seriously Need to Upgrade Their Number Two Keeper," 28 July 2019 The dual millstone of a sluggish offense and a wobbly rotation has continued into June. Andy Mccullough,, "Paul Goldschmidt’s struggles mirror those of the Cardinals," 22 June 2019 That should reassure investors concerned that Shell’s big refining division is a millstone when oil prices are high. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Shell Needs to Produce Energy, Not Just Cash," 1 Nov. 2018 The McQueen show has become a little bit of an albatross in a way, a bit of a millstone around my neck. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "A fashion exhibit just became the Met museum’s most popular show ever. Here’s why.," 12 Oct. 2018 And while Trump is generally unpopular, his 44 percent job approval rating isn’t quite the millstone that’s dragging down some of Walker’s Republican counterparts in other states. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Fox News Power Rankings: Hello, Wisconsin," 12 July 2018 During the earliest phase, radiocarbon-dated to around 2300 B.C.E., the pits were filled with broken bits of ceramic drinking vessels, stone axs, millstones, and butchered animal bones. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Rituals performed at this German ‘Stonehenge’ may link mysterious monument to its U.K. counterpart," 28 June 2018 The remainder of the items, buried in a similar fashion between 2200 B.C.E. and 2000 B.C.E., included more millstones, grinding stones, and animal bones, along with a handful of disembodied human bones. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Rituals performed at this German ‘Stonehenge’ may link mysterious monument to its U.K. counterpart," 28 June 2018 County workers have attempted to preserve some historic artifacts from the area, said Miller, including the slate stone steps that had been outside many buildings and some historic millstones. Christina Tkacik,, "Ellicott City begins the great 'muck out' — again," 3 June 2018

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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Statistics for millstone

Last Updated

6 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for millstone

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

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More Definitions for millstone



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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More from Merriam-Webster on millstone

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with millstone

Spanish Central: Translation of millstone

Nglish: Translation of millstone for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about millstone

Comments on millstone

What made you want to look up millstone? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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