oto·​lith ˈō-tə-ˌlith How to pronounce otolith (audio)
: a calcareous concretion in the inner ear of a vertebrate or in the otocyst of an invertebrate
otolithic adjective

Examples of otolith in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Kitchin believes that lateral movement of the sort involved in rollerblading and skiing stimulates the otolith, a piece of calcium carbonate that sits on a person’s inner ear and triggers feelings of flow and euphoria. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, 29 Jan. 2024 An otolith is an inner ear bone found in salmon and other fish that develops a new layer each year. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 30 July 2022 Using a bony growth called an otolith that exists in the head of most fish, Brown and others counted growth rings, estimating older fish sometimes reached the age of 14. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 1 May 2021 For years, scientists have used an inner ear bone called an otolith to estimate the lifespan of fish. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 6 Apr. 2020 The oxygen molecules in the fish ear bones, or otoliths, carry a record of life history. Yereth Rosen, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Aug. 2017 Scientists use the growth structure of otoliths to estimate a fish's age. Alaa Elassar, CNN, 12 Jan. 2020 The researchers then used a microscope to count the growth rings on each slice of otolith. Sean Landsman, National Geographic, 2 Aug. 2019 Changes to otolith size could affect fish hearing and orientation, researchers say. Elizabeth Preston, Science | AAAS, 20 June 2019

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

Word History


French otolithe, from ot- + -lithe -lith

First Known Use

circa 1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of otolith was circa 1836

Dictionary Entries Near otolith

Cite this Entry

“Otolith.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/otolith. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


oto·​lith ˈōt-ᵊl-ˌith How to pronounce otolith (audio)
: a calcareous concretion in the inner ear of a vertebrate or in the otocyst of an invertebrate that is especially conspicuous in many bony fishes where it forms a hard body and in most of the higher vertebrates where it is represented by a mass of small calcareous otoconia

called also statolith

otolithic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on otolith

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