per·​lite ˈpər-ˌlīt How to pronounce perlite (audio)
: volcanic glass that has a concentric structure, appears as if composed of concretions, is usually grayish and sometimes spherulitic, and when heated expands to form a lightweight aggregate used especially in concrete and plaster and as a medium for potting plants
perlitic adjective

Examples of perlite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Insert the end into a small pot filled with a peat moss and perlite mix, and place it indoors in bright indirect light. Viveka Neveln, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 May 2024 Add a layer of rocks or perlite to the bottom to aid drainage. Steve Bender, Southern Living, 7 May 2024 Made with a blend of sphagnum peat moss, humus, and perlite, this potting mix helps ensure good drainage to keep roots healthy. Renee Freemon Mulvihill, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 May 2024 Choose a container with good drainage and fill it with a mixture of potting soil, sand, and perlite. Grace Haynes, Southern Living, 11 Mar. 2024 In addition to sphagnum peat moss, however, the lightweight potting mix contains humus and perlite, which help provide the necessary aeration and drainage for cacti and succulents. Renee Freemon Mulvihill, Better Homes & Gardens, 4 Jan. 2024 Plant the seeds in a potting mix or soil with an equal distribution of peat, perlite, and volcanic rock. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 19 Feb. 2024 It's made up of sphagnum peat moss, along with vermiculite and perlite. Chris McKeown, The Enquirer, 17 Feb. 2024 Thoroughly hose down the piece, and using a wire brush, firmly brush down the entire surface to remove mold lines and reveal the stone-like look of the perlite. Kenneth Setzer, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'perlite.' 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, from perle pearl

First Known Use

1833, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of perlite was in 1833

Dictionary Entries Near perlite

Cite this Entry

“Perlite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


per·​lite ˈpər-ˌlīt How to pronounce perlite (audio)
: a glassy mineral of volcanic origin that when expanded by heat forms a lightweight material capable of absorbing liquids (as water)

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