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
(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

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 The first is the Note-iest thing about it—the S Pen stylus. David Pierce, WSJ, "Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 Is Crazy Powerful. Can You Handle It?," 19 Aug. 2018 Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 9 has a nifty new feature: for the first time, the S Pen stylus has Bluetooth and can be charged instantly using a supercapacitor. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Supercapacitors power the Note 9 stylus — but are they ready to replace batteries?," 17 Aug. 2018 Its biggest update is compatibility with the company’s Apple Pencil stylus, allowing users to digitally write and draw on the screen. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Apple Unveils Updated iPad Touted for Students As a Possible New Apple Watch Looms," 31 Mar. 2018 Prior to the iPhone, touchscreen smartphones used soft plastic on top of their displays, which was suitable for a stylus, but terrible for finger touch interactions. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Why your brand-new smartphone will scratch just as easily as your old one," 19 Oct. 2018 The Surface Pen stylus is no longer included by default, and new keyboard covers are more expensive than ever., The Seattle Times, "Best tablets of 2018 (so far)," 24 Sep. 2018 The new iPads also have full support for Pencil, Apple's digital stylus, so any app built for iPad Pro that uses the Pencil can be run without hiccups on the new iPads. Michael Calore, WIRED, "Apple Adds Pencil Support to Cheapest iPads, Debuts New Education Software," 27 Mar. 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

4 Feb 2019

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).


excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!