sty·​lus | \ˈstī-ləs \
plural styli\ˈstī(-​ə)-​ˌlī \ also styluses\ˈstī-​lə-​səz \

Definition of stylus 

: an instrument for writing, marking, or incising: such as

a : an instrument used by the ancients in writing on clay or waxed tablets

b : a hard-pointed pen-shaped instrument for marking on stencils used in a reproducing machine

c(1) : needle sense 3c

(2) : a cutting tool used to produce an original record groove during disc recording

d : a pen-shaped pointing device used for entering data (such as positional information from a graphics tablet) into a computer

Examples of stylus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Amazon notes that this notebook could be suited for mobile gaming, given its longer battery life and stylus. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Amazon’s new all-in-one and laptop designs could get Alexa into even more PCs," 5 June 2018 Microsoft is reportedly working on cheaper Surface accessories (including a keyboard and stylus) to complement the tablet, which will still include a kickstand. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Microsoft may release a tiny $400 Surface tablet to challenge the iPad," 16 May 2018 Lenovo and Qualcomm are claiming the laptop will last for up to 20 hours on a single charge, and the Miix 360 comes with a keyboard and stylus at no extra cost. Lisa Eadicicco, Time, "The 5 Best Laptops We Saw at CES 2018," 13 Jan. 2018 Microsoft has also been experimenting with stylus input for Andromeda, so that the device can fold over like a book and a pen can be used to capture digital ink. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Microsoft details secret ‘pocketable’ Surface device in leaked email," 29 June 2018 The Surface Pen stylus is no longer included by default, and new keyboard covers are more expensive than ever. Hartford Courant,, "CNET: Best Tablets Of 2018," 14 June 2018 The screen on the Dell measures 15.6 inches (with a 16:9 ratio), has thin bezels, and supports Dell’s included stylus. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review: jack of all trades," 2 July 2018 The most useful: Pop out the stylus and the phone will automatically open to a note-taking app. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "The Best New Gadgets and Tech of 2017," 1 Dec. 2017 Microsoft is now finally bringing stylus support to the Mail app in Windows 10. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Windows 10’s Mail app will finally let you write emails with a stylus," 26 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of stylus

1773, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stylus

Latin stylus, stilus spike, stylus — more at style

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stylus

Dictionary Entries near stylus








Statistics for stylus

Last Updated

25 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stylus

The first known use of stylus was in 1773

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stylus



English Language Learners Definition of stylus

: a very small, pointed piece of metal that touches a record and produces sound when the record is played

: a tool used long ago for writing on clay or wax tablets

: a small tool that is used to write or touch buttons on a computer


sty·​lus | \ˈstī-ləs \
plural styli\-​ˌlī \ also styluses

Kids Definition of stylus

: a pointed instrument used in ancient times for writing on wax tablets


variants: also stilus \ˈstī-​ləs \
plural styli\ˈstī(ə)l-​ˌī \ also styluses\ˈstī-​lə-​səz \ or stili or stiluses

Medical Definition of stylus 

: an instrument for writing, marking, or incising: as

a : a hard-pointed instrument for punching the dots in writing braille with a braille slate

b : a device that traces a recording (as of an electrocardiograph) on paper

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on stylus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stylus

Spanish Central: Translation of stylus

Nglish: Translation of stylus for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about stylus

Comments on stylus

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


to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!