sty·​lus | \ ˈstī-ləs How to pronounce stylus (audio) \
plural styli\ ˈstī(-​ə)-​ˌlī How to pronounce styli (audio) \ also styluses\ ˈstī-​lə-​səz How to pronounce styluses (audio) \

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
(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

Some are only designed to scroll up and down a webpage with a finger, while better ones may come with more advanced features and standard pens and styluses. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Touchscreen Laptops of 2019," 30 Apr. 2019 The new stylus will reportedly pair with the new iPad Pros by proximity, much like AirPods do with other Apple devices. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "iPad Pro rumors: 4K HDR video output over USB-C, flexible Face ID, and more," 9 Oct. 2018 As someone who still fondly remembers his solid metal Palm stylus, the S-Pen is disappointing. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Galaxy Note9 hands-on—Samsung ships a bigger battery, not much else," 9 Aug. 2018 The company’s initial reluctance to offer a stylus or a keyboard has since turned into multiple generations of keyboard covers and Apple Pencils. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Google keeps failing to understand tablets," 29 Nov. 2018 While there are strong rumors that Samsung will be shipping the Note 9 with an updated Bluetooth powered stylus, the Galaxy Tab S4 ships with the same dumb S-Pen. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Samsung's Galaxy Tab S4 is a work-first tablet built to take on the iPad Pro and Surface Laptop," 1 Aug. 2018 The technique has remained largely the same: Designs are applied using beeswax and a stylus, then dipped and sometimes dyed again. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "The History of Easter Eggs and Why They're Decorated," 25 Feb. 2019 Creative types can scribble, paint and do other activities requiring precision right on the screen itself with a new Apple Pencil stylus ($130) that magnetically attaches to the edge of the screen. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Seattle Times, "Apple redesigns the iPad Pro, breathes new life in the MacBook Air," 30 Oct. 2018 While the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro does ship with a Samsung Active Pen stylus, there doesn’t seem to be any built-in holster to store it in, unlike the related Samsung Notebook 9 Pen laptop. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Samsung's stylish Notebook 9 Pro adds Intel's Whiskey Lake CPU and Thunderbolt ports," 7 Jan. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of stylus

1773, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stylus

Latin stylus, stilus spike, stylus — more at style

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Statistics for stylus

Last Updated

13 May 2019

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Time Traveler for stylus

The first known use of stylus was in 1773

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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 How to pronounce stylus (audio) \
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 How to pronounce stilus (audio) \
plural styli\ ˈstī(ə)l-​ˌī How to pronounce styli (audio) \ also styluses\ ˈstī-​lə-​səz How to pronounce styluses (audio) \ 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

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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).


a strong desire or propensity

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