no·​vac·​u·​lite nō-ˈva-kyə-ˌlīt How to pronounce novaculite (audio)
: a very hard fine-grained siliceous rock used for whetstones and possibly of sedimentary origin

Examples of novaculite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Native Americans dug systematically for Arkansas novaculite, a silica-rich mineral used for arrowheads some 10,000 years ago. Leeaundra Keany, Discover Magazine, 30 Aug. 2010 The Quapaw and Caddo peoples lived here for thousands of years, mining the region’s ubiquitous novaculite, a type of flint stone, for weapons. Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2020

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

Word History


Latin novāculum "razor" (from novā- —going back to earlier *ksneu̯ā- "scrape smooth, sharpen"— + -culum, instrumental suffix, going back to *-tlom) + -ite entry 1; *ksneu̯ā-, probably derivative of an Indo-European adjective *ksneu̯͟-o- "scraped smooth," from a verbal base *ksneu̯- "scrape (until sharp or smooth)" (whence, with ablaut variation, Sanskrit kṣṇáuti "(s/he) whets, sharpens," kṣṇutáḥ "sharpened," kṣṇótram "whetstone," Avestan hu-xšnutō "well-sharpened"), iterative derivative of *kseu̯-, whence Greek xýō, xeîn "to shave, smooth"

First Known Use

1794, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of novaculite was in 1794

Dictionary Entries Near novaculite

Cite this Entry

“Novaculite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2024.

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