Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

basalt

[buh-sawlt, bas-awlt, bey-sawlt]
See more synonyms for basalt on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. the dark, dense igneous rock of a lava flow or minor intrusion, composed essentially of labradorite and pyroxene and often displaying a columnar structure.
Show More

Origin of basalt

1595–1605; < Latin basaltēs, a misreading, in manuscripts of Pliny, of basanītēs < Greek basanī́tēs (líthos) touchstone, equivalent to básan(os) touchstone (ultimately < Egyptian bh̬n(w) graywacke) + -ītēs -ite1
Related formsba·sal·tic, ba·sal·tine [buh-sawl-tin, -tahyn] /bəˈsɔl tɪn, -taɪn/, adjectivesub·ba·sal·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for basalt's

basalt

noun
  1. a fine-grained dark basic igneous rock consisting of plagioclase feldspar, a pyroxene, and olivine: the most common volcanic rock and usually extrusiveSee flood basalt
  2. a form of black unglazed pottery resembling basalt
Show More
Derived Formsbasaltic, adjective

Word Origin

C18: from Late Latin basaltēs, variant of basanītēs, from Greek basanitēs touchstone, from basanos, of Egyptian origin
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 basalt's

basalt

n.

c.1600, from Late Latin basaltes, misspelling of Latin basanites "very hard stone," from Greek basanites "a species of slate used to test gold," from basanos "touchstone." Not connected with salt. Said by Pliny ["Historia," 36.58] to be an African word, perhaps Egyptian bauhan "slate." Any hard, very dark rock would do as a touchstone; the assayer compared the streak left by the alleged gold with that of real gold or baser metals. Hence Greek basanizein "to be put to the test, examined closely, cross-examined, to be put to torture."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

basalt's in Science

basalt

[bə-sôlt, bāsôlt′]
  1. A dark, fine-grained, igneous rock consisting mostly of plagioclase feldspar and pyroxene, and sometimes olivine. Basalt makes up most of the ocean floor and is the most common type of lava. It sometimes cools into characteristic hexagonal columns, as in the Giant's Causeway in Anterim, Northern Island. It is the fine-grained equivalent of gabbro.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

basalt's in Culture

basalt

[(buh-sawlt, bay-sawlt)]

A hard, dense igneous rock that makes up much of the material in tectonic plates. The part of the Earth's crust beneath the oceans consists mainly of basalt whereas continental crust consists mainly of less dense rocks, such as granite. (See plate tectonics.)

Show More
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.