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

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 On the way is a stylus from Logitech called Crayon, which costs just $49. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "How Apple wants to insert itself into kids' school day," 27 Mar. 2018 All of the Surface Go’s accessories are sold separately including a keyboard cover that’s been redesigned for the smaller size, as well as a stylus and a new 4-inch mobile mouse. Hayley Tsukayama,, "Microsoft Shrinks The Surface To A Purse-Friendly Size," 11 July 2018 The device, according to current plans, would be roughly palm-sized when folded, include a full-width screen covering a center hinge, and could be controlled by a stylus. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "New Leak Offers Details About Microsoft's Folding Pocket Computer, 'Andromeda'," 30 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.

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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

28 Oct 2018

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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 \
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

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