stalactite

noun
sta·​lac·​tite | \ stə-ˈlak-ˌtīt How to pronounce stalactite (audio) also ˈsta-lək- \

Definition of stalactite

: a deposit of calcium carbonate (such as calcite) resembling an icicle hanging from the roof or sides of a cave

Illustration of stalactite

Illustration of stalactite

stalactite and stalagmite

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Other Words from stalactite

stalactitic \ ˌsta-​(ˌ)lak-​ˈti-​tik How to pronounce stalactite (audio) , stə-​ˌlak-​ \ adjective

Examples of stalactite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At one point, the Abominable Snowmonster tries to murder Rudolph in front of his parents by smashing a giant stalactite on his head. Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic, "The Christmas Special From Hell," 24 Nov. 2020 During the last ice age, the spring was actually a dry cave, as proved by stalactites and stalagmites discovered well below the current water line. Dallas News, "Florida’s Venice has warm springs, shark teeth and more," 24 Mar. 2020 Closer to home, scientists have long used cave formations to gauge rainfall, based on ratios of oxygen isotopes left in stalactites and stalagmites by seeping water. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Diamond microscope reveals slow crawl of Earth’s ancient crust," 22 Apr. 2020 During the last ice age, the spring was actually a dry cave, as proved by stalactites and stalagmites discovered well below the current water line. Dallas News, "Florida’s Venice has warm springs, shark teeth and more," 24 Mar. 2020 Huge stalactites hung from the tunnel roof; knocking one could have been catastrophic. George Ramsay, CNN, "How an open water swimmer braved freezing water to uncover Antarctica's 'dark secret'," 10 Mar. 2020 Lids from Lodge also feature this type of helpful little nubs or stalactites inside the lid that trap condensation and recirculate moisture. NBC News, "The best cast iron cookware, according to chefs and experts," 17 Mar. 2020 Seaweed and algae cling to the underside, while fish seek shelter behind the stalactite-like underwater mountains. Lindsey J. Smith, Smithsonian, "Designing Floating Buildings With an Eye to the Marine Species Living Underneath," 7 Oct. 2019 Most of the lead simply melted at 300°C, pouring into the gutters and dripping into stalactites that can still be seen hanging from the vaults. Christa Lesté-lasserre, Science | AAAS, "Scientists are leading Notre Dame’s restoration—and probing mysteries laid bare by its devastating fire," 12 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stalactite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of stalactite

1677, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stalactite

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

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Time Traveler for stalactite

Time Traveler

The first known use of stalactite was in 1677

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Statistics for stalactite

Last Updated

4 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stalactite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stalactite. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for stalactite

stalactite

noun
How to pronounce stalactite (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stalactite

: a pointed piece of rock that hangs down from the roof of a cave and that is formed by dripping water which contains minerals

stalactite

noun
sta·​lac·​tite | \ stə-ˈlak-ˌtīt How to pronounce stalactite (audio) \

Kids Definition of stalactite

: a deposit hanging from the roof or side of a cave in the shape of an icicle formed by the partial evaporation of dripping water containing minerals

More from Merriam-Webster on stalactite

Nglish: Translation of stalactite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about stalactite

Comments on stalactite

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