Trending: ā€˜monolithā€™

Lookups spiked 1,400% on November 24, 2020

Why are people looking up monolith?

Lookups for monolith spiked on November 24, 2020, following a startling discovery in the Utah desert.

Authorities conducting a routine survey of the population of bighorn sheep for the state wildlife agency found something very un-sheeplike instead: a free-standing column, ten to twelve feet tall, apparently made of stainless steel, embedded into the rock. The three-faced structure seemed to point at a narrow canyon formed in the red rock of the desert.

The pilot of the surveyor's helicopter that first spotted the structure said: "Iā€™m assuming it is, you know, some new wave artist or something, or somebody that was just a big 2001: A Space Odyssey fan."

The structure was referred to in news reports as a monolith.

What does monolith mean?

Monolith is defined as "a single great stone often in the form of an obelisk or column" or, more broadly, "a massive structure."

Where does monolith come from?

Monolith is a word that existed in French, Latin, and Greek before it came to English. It is made up of the Greek words mon- ("alone") and lithos ("stone").

What is notable about this use of monolith?

Although etymologically a monolith is a stone structure, it's clear that in art criticism and general usage the word can also refer to those made from other materials, such as stainless steel (or perhaps a solid and shiny substance delivered by aliens).


There are caryatides statues; but instead of monolithes they are regular layers of freestone, similar to the columns they are attached to.
ā€” The Literary Gazette, London, 5 October 1822

3rdly, A Monolith, six feet high; it represents Ramses the Great (Serostris), seated upon a throne between Amon-Ra and Neith, of rose granite, and is a perfect work.
ā€” Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, 1 November 1824

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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