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  1. lodestone.

Origin of loadstone

1505–15; earlier load lode + stone


or load·stone

  1. a variety of magnetite that possesses magnetic polarity and attracts iron.
  2. a piece of this serving as a magnet.
  3. something that attracts strongly.

Origin of lodestone

1505–15; lode (in obsolete sense “way, course”) + stone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for loadstone

Historical Examples

  • The Loadstone Rock was drawing him, and he must sail on, until he struck.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • One came from the finding of the loadstone, or natural magnet.

  • She drew as potently, and to all appearances as impassively, as a loadstone.


    George Washington Cable

  • Then the heap of money was a loadstone for all their hungry eyes.

  • They made small boats, but were ignorant of the loadstone and the compass.

British Dictionary definitions for loadstone


  1. a variant spelling of lodestone



    1. a rock that consists of pure or nearly pure magnetite and thus is naturally magnetic
    2. a piece of such rock, which can be used as a magnet and which was formerly used as a primitive compass
  1. a person or thing regarded as a focus of attraction

Word Origin

C16: literally: guiding stone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for loadstone



"magnetically polarized oxide of iron," 1510s, literally "way-stone," from lode + stone (n.). So called because it was used to make compass magnets to guide mariners. Figurative use from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

loadstone in Science


  1. A piece of the mineral magnetite that acts like a magnet.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.