\ˈstō-nē \
variants: or less commonly stoney
stonier; stoniest

Definition of stony 

1 : abounding in or having the nature of stone : rocky

2a : insensitive to pity or human feeling : obdurate

b : manifesting no movement or reaction : dumb, expressionless

c : fearfully gripping : petrifying

3 archaic : consisting of or made of stones

4 British : stone broke

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Other Words from stony

stonily \ ˈstō-​nə-​lē \ adverb
stoniness \ ˈstō-​nē-​nəs \ noun

Examples of stony in a Sentence

She gave him a stony stare. the judge's stony demeanor didn't raise the defendant's hopes for a more lenient sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Juicy and fresh, with unusual aromas and flavors of watermelon and potpourri. Austere and reticent, with stony aromas and flavors of citrus and flowers. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "American Rosés Without Clichés," 5 July 2018 His players were at his back, at the other end of the field, applauding their fans, commiserating with them, the mood proud but somber, stony faces and distant eyes. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018 This one from Stein is gently dry, with just the barest bit of fruity roundness to give the wine depth and dimension, along with plenty of stony minerality. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "20 Wines Under $20: Plenty of Variety and Not One Chardonnay," 17 May 2018 My friends assure me that I am supposed to cry, as though anything less were an indication of a stony heart. Karen Stabiner, New York Times, "A Wedding Day Saga Ends With Words From the Heart," 27 June 2018 The site where fast-moving flames trapped the Granite Mountain Hotshots five years ago is dry scrub, surrounded by stony hills on three sides. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Granite Mountain Hotshots: An untold story from the day 19 firefighters died," 23 June 2018 Just beyond the northern reach of the park, there’s a grassy mound—bearded in stony riprap to prevent erosion--that overlooks the East River: an older public park. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "Sweet Design on the Brooklyn Waterfront," 30 June 2018 Stony Stares When South Korean boy band Shinhwa performed in North Korea in 2003 as part of a similar cultural diplomacy venture, the audience -- dressed in suits and traditional dresses -- greeted them with silence and stony stares., "Kim Jong Un Mingles With K-Pop Stars at Pyongyang Pop Concert," 2 Apr. 2018 At first, the city used the stony ridge for woodlots and rain catchments. William J. Broad, New York Times, "How the Ice Age Shaped New York," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stony.' 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 stony

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for stony

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for stony

The first known use of stony was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for stony



English Language Learners Definition of stony

: full of stones

: made of stone or hard like stone

: showing no emotion or friendliness


\ˈstō-nē \
stonier; stoniest

Kids Definition of stony

1 : full of stones stony soil

2 : hard as or like stone stony meteorites

3 : insensitive sense 1, unfeeling a stony stare

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Comments on stony

What made you want to look up stony? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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