1640s, from French granit(e) (17c.) or directly from Italian granito "granite," originally "grained," past participle of granire "granulate, make grainy," from grano "grain," from Latin granum "grain" (see corn (n.1)). In reference to the appearance of the rock. Used figuratively for "hardness" (of the heart, head, etc.) from 1839. New Hampshire, U.S., has been the Granite State since at least 1825.
A usually light-colored, coarse-grained igneous rock consisting mostly of quartz, orthoclase feldspar, sodium-rich plagioclase feldspar, and micas. Quartz usually makes up 10 to 50 percent of the light-colored minerals in granite, with the remaining minerals consisting of the feldspars and muscovite. The darker minerals in granite are usually biotite and hornblende. Granite is one of the most common rocks in the crust of continents, and is formed by the slow, underground cooling of magma.