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 RealView Imaging generates real-time holograms that can be updated digitally via a stylus. David Howard, Popular Mechanics, "How Kim Kardashian's Dad Came Back to Life in a Terrifying Hologram," 30 Oct. 2020 Di Prima continued to write until weeks before her death, though her arthritis forced her to use a stylus on a cellphone to write. Steve Marble, Los Angeles Times, "Diane di Prima, feminist poet and Beat generation force, dies at 86," 28 Oct. 2020 The state also purchased plexiglass shields for every polling location and single-use stylus pens to limit common touch points, Koupal said. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Arches National Park, ski resorts, Amtrak: News from around our 50 states," 20 Oct. 2020 Dallas County positioned clear barriers between election workers and voters, and poll workers sanitized any surfaces that were touched and provided finger coverings or a popsicle stick to be used as a stylus on voting machines. Arkansas Online, "Despite virus fears, Texas sends most voters to the polls," 13 Oct. 2020 Each voter will use a metal stylus to sign the electronic poll book and make selections on the voting machines. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, "LIVE: 'This feels like Christmas morning.' Masked and socially distanced, Ohioans start to vote early in presidential battleground," 6 Oct. 2020 This is supposed to help solve some of the problems of someone wanting to, say, use a Microsoft Surface’s active stylus to write on an HP laptop. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "The HP Spectre x360 14 gets a lush OLED display and a lot more AI smarts," 2 Oct. 2020 The vertical tracking angle (VTA) is the angle at which the stylus rests in the record groove. Star Tribune, "Sound Advice: Generators and solar panels fill different needs," 2 Oct. 2020 The Fold phone, when un-folded, becomes like a quasi tablet, and the Note20 has a giant 6.9 screen and a companion stylus. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Samsung introduces something for the fans — a budget Galaxy S20 camera for $699," 23 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for stylus

Time Traveler

The first known use of stylus was in 1773

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Statistics for stylus

Last Updated

14 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stylus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for stylus


How to pronounce stylus (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on stylus

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

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