stalactite

noun

sta·​lac·​tite stə-ˈlak-ˌtīt How to pronounce stalactite (audio)
 also  ˈsta-lək-
: a deposit of calcium carbonate (such as calcite) resembling an icicle hanging from the roof or sides of a cave
stalactitic adjective

Illustration of stalactite

Illustration of stalactite
  • stalactite and stalagmite

Examples of stalactite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Across the cave system, stalactites broken off by vibrations from train construction litter the ground like rubble following an earthquake. Teresa De Miguel, Megan Janetsky, and Rodrigo Abd, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 May 2024 The 21-square-mile British territory is known for its gorgeous pink-sand beaches, impressive golf courses overlooking the sea, underground caves with amazing stalactites and stalagmites, and more. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 19 May 2024 The principle is very similar to radiocarbon dating--the amount of daughter elements in a stalactite, for example, indicates how long that stalactite has been around--with the advantage that uranium-series dates can stretch back half a million years. James Shreeve, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 Thousands of dramatic stalactites and stalagmites, as well as deep, turquoise-colored cave pools, set the scene for a step back in time. Meagan Drillinger, Travel + Leisure, 31 Jan. 2024 Travelers can easily spend the entire day exploring these captivating caverns, admiring the mystical stalagmites and stalactites, and spotting wildlife like bats and cougars. Lauren Dana Ellman, Travel + Leisure, 1 Jan. 2024 The caverns include an underground river, delicate 'soda straw' formations, stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and huge areas of flowstone. Bill Bowden, Arkansas Online, 6 Nov. 2023 The water levels seemed to drop precipitously – in images captured by Porsche Devol on September 2, only a small portion of a cave was visible and now photos show a vast entrance with rock formations and stalactites hanging from the ceiling. Amanda Jackson, CNN, 30 Sep. 2023 There are millennia worth of stalactites, stalagmites, and, yes, even a few sharks. Meagan Drillinger, Travel + Leisure, 24 Aug. 2023

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

Word History

Etymology

New Latin stalactites, from Greek stalaktos dripping, from stalassein to let drip

First Known Use

1677, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stalactite was in 1677

Dictionary Entries Near stalactite

Cite this Entry

“Stalactite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stalactite. Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

stalactite

noun
sta·​lac·​tite stə-ˈlak-ˌtīt How to pronounce stalactite (audio)
: a deposit of calcium carbonate resembling an icicle hanging from the roof or sides of a cavern
Etymology

from scientific Latin stalactites "stalactite," from Greek stalaktos (adjective) "dripping"

More from Merriam-Webster on stalactite

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