sco·​le·​cite ˈskä-lə-ˌsīt How to pronounce scolecite (audio)
: a usually fibrous zeolite mineral that is a hydrous calcium aluminum silicate

Word History


borrowed from German Scolecit (now Skolezit), from Greek skōlēk-, skṓlēx "worm," (in plural) "larvae, grubs" + German -it -ite entry 1 — more at scolex

Note: The name was introduced by the German chemist Adolph Ferdinand Gehlen (1775-1815) in "Ueber Werner's Zeolit, Hauy's Mesotyp und Stilbit" (Journal für Chemie und Physik, Band 8 [1813], pp. 353-66), a report made by Gehlen to the journal's editor together with the chemist and mineralogist Johann Nepomuk Fuchs (1774-1856). According to the text (p. 361), "Für die neue Gattung schlagen wir den Namen Scolecit vor, weil sich die nadelförmigen Krystalle dieses Fossils wurmförmig krümmen, wenn sie der Hitze ausgesetzt werden." ("We suggest the name scolecite for the new genus, because the needle-like crystals of this mineral [literally, "fossil," i.e, something dug from the ground] bend in worm-like shapes when exposed to heat.")

First Known Use

circa 1823, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scolecite was circa 1823

Dictionary Entries Near scolecite

Cite this Entry

“Scolecite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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