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[mil-stohn] /ˈmɪlˌstoʊn/
either of a pair of circular stones between which grain or another substance is ground, as in a mill.
anything that grinds or crushes.
any heavy mental or emotional burden (often used in the phrase a millstone around one's neck).
Origin of millstone
before 1050; Middle English milneston, Old English mylenstān. See mill1, stone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for millstone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thus, virtue did not become a burden, nor honor a millstone.

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
  • You have a heart harder than the millstone, more set than ice!

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • It were better for him that a millstone were hung about his neck and that he be cast into the deep.

  • No one ever got anywhere with anything with such a millstone around his neck.

    Evening Round Up

    William Crosbie Hunter
  • As man and millstone reached the sea the storm instantly ceased.

  • Can't you see through a millstone when there is a hole in it?

    In School and Out Oliver Optic
  • The hand that had pointed to the millstone about his neck had conjured it there.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • He had better have a millstone round his neck, and be cast into the deepest sea.

    Mugby Junction Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for millstone


one of a pair of heavy flat disc-shaped stones that are rotated one against the other to grind grain
a heavy burden, such as a responsibility or obligation: his debts were a millstone round his neck
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
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Word Origin and History for millstone

Old English mylenstan, from mill (n.1) + stone (n.). Figurative sense of "a burden" (1720) is from Matt. xviii:6.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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