[ lith-ik ]
/ ˈlɪθ ɪk /
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pertaining to or consisting of stone.
Petrology. pertaining to clastic rocks, either sedimentary or volcanic, containing a large proportion of debris from previously formed rocks: a lithic sandstone; lithic tuff.
Pathology. pertaining to stony concretions, or calculi, formed within the body, especially in the bladder.
Chemistry. of, relating to, or containing lithium.
Archaeology. a stone artifact.
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Origin of lithic

First recorded in 1790–1800, lithic is from the Greek word lithikós of stone. See lith-, -ic


lith·i·cal·ly, adverbpre·lith·ic, adjective

Other definitions for lithic (2 of 2)


a combining form used in the names of cultural phases in archaeology characterized by the use of stone tools: Chalcolithic; Neolithic.
a combining form meaning “of or relating to stone,” used to form adjectives: megalithic; monolithic.

Origin of -lithic

see origin at lithic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -lithic mean?

The combining form -lithic is used like a suffix used to name cultural phases in archaeology characterized by the use of a particular type of tool. Essentially, it is used in the names of eras of human history. It is most often used in archaeological and anthropological terms.

The form -lithic comes from Greek lithikós, meaning “of stone.”

Corresponding forms of -lithic combined to the beginning of words are litho- and -lith. Learn more at our Words That Use articles for these forms.

Examples of -lithic

An example of a word you may have encountered that features -lithic is Paleolithic, “of relating to, or characteristic of the cultures of the late Pliocene and the Pleistocene epochs, or early phase of the Stone Age.”

The paleo- part of the word may look familiar; it means “old” or “ancient.” The -lithic portion of the word, as we know, is used to name an era of human history. Paleolithic literally means “of ancient stone” or, more generally, “of ancient history.”

What are some words that use the combining form -lithic?

What are some other forms that -lithic may be commonly confused with?

In some instances, words ending in -lith are further modified with the suffix -ic, which is used to form adjectives. For example, something with the characteristics of a monolith may be called monolithic. This word does not use -lithic to indicate an era of human history.

Break it down!

The combining form chalco- means “copper.” With this in mind, what was significant about the Chalcolithic age?

How to use lithic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lithic (1 of 2)

/ (ˈlɪθɪk) /

of, relating to, or composed of stone
containing abundant fragments of previously formed rocka lithic sandstone
pathol of or relating to a calculus or calculi, esp one in the urinary bladder
of or containing lithium

Word Origin for lithic

C18: from Greek lithikos stony

British Dictionary definitions for lithic (2 of 2)


adj combining form
(in anthropology) relating to the use of stone implements in a specified cultural periodNeolithic

Word Origin for -lithic

from Greek lithikos, from lithos 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