pho·​no·​lite ˈfō-nə-ˌlīt How to pronounce phonolite (audio)
: a gray or green volcanic rock consisting essentially of orthoclase and nepheline

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Now, Tenerife hasn't produced another eruption like this since, but a paper by Ablay and others (1995) suggested that there could be more of the explosive phonolite magma lurking underneath the caldera. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 29 Apr. 2016

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

Word History


borrowed from French, from phono- phono- + -lite -lite, as loan translation of German Klingstein; so called from the metallic ringing sound it makes when struck

Note: The word was perhaps introduced by the French mineralogist Alexandre Brongniart (1770-1847), who used it in Traité élémentaire de minéralogie, tome premier (Paris, 1807), p. 353.

First Known Use

1831, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phonolite was in 1831

Dictionary Entries Near phonolite

Cite this Entry

“Phonolite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

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