sax·​ic·​o·​lous sak-ˈsi-kə-ləs How to pronounce saxicolous (audio)
: inhabiting or growing among rocks
saxicolous lichens

Did you know?

Saxicolous. It's not a word that exactly rolls off the tongue, but it's a useful designation for botanists. The word is from Latin, naturally. "Saxum" is Latin for rock, and "colous" (meaning "living or growing in or on") traces back to Latin -cola meaning "inhabitant." Other "colous" offspring include "arenicolous" ("living, burrowing, or growing in sand"), "cavernicolous" ("inhabiting caves"), and "nidicolous" ("living in a nest" or "sharing the nest of another kind of animal"). All of these words were coined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to describe the flora and fauna of our world.

Word History


Latin saxum rock (akin to Latin secare to cut) + English -colous — more at saw

First Known Use

1856, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of saxicolous was in 1856


Dictionary Entries Near saxicolous

Cite this Entry

“Saxicolous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

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