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  1. a prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England, consisting of a large circle of megaliths surrounding a smaller circle and four massive trilithons; dating to late Neolithic and early Bronze Age times (c1700–1200 b.c.) and believed to have been connected with a sun cult or used for astronomical observations.

Origin of Stonehenge

cf. henge
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for stonehenge

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Stonehenge was to me even more remarkable, because it is more mysterious.


    Charles Godfrey Leland

  • But ahead of him he saw a great rough building, rather like Stonehenge.

    The Magic City

    Edith Nesbit

  • So they began; Thrombley, Stonehenge and Parros doing the talking.

    Lone Star Planet

    Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire

  • Stonehenge frowned and fidgeted with some papers in front of him.

    Lone Star Planet

    Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire

  • And it would also keep him and Stonehenge apart for a while.

    Lone Star Planet

    Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire

British Dictionary definitions for stonehenge


  1. a prehistoric ruin in S England, in Wiltshire on Salisbury Plain: constructed over the period of roughly 3000–1600 bc; one of the most important megalithic monuments in Europe; believed to have had religious and astronomical purposes
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 stonehenge



early 12c., Stanenges, literally "stone gallows," perhaps so called from fancied resemblance to old-style gallows with two posts, with the second element related to the verb hang. Some antiquarians suggest the notion may be of "supported in the air, that which hangs in the air" (cf. henge-clif for Latin præruptum), in reference to the lintel stones, but the order of the elements and the inflexion is against this. An ancient name for it was the Giant's Dance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stonehenge in Culture


Ancient circles of large, upright stones that stand alone on a plain in England. There is some controversy about who shaped, carried, and set up these huge stones, which perhaps had religious and astronomical uses. Scholars theorize that Stonehenge was built in three phases beginning in about 2800 b.c. The huge stones are believed to date from 1800 to 1500 b.c.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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