[bel-uh m-nahyt]

noun Paleontology.

a conical fossil, several inches long, consisting of the internal calcareous rod of an extinct animal allied to the cuttlefish; a thunderstone.

Origin of belemnite

1640–50; < French bélemnite, equivalent to Greek bélemn(on) a dart (noun derivative from base of bállein to throw) + French -ite -ite1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for belemnite

Historical Examples of belemnite

  • Cerau′nite, a belemnite; Cerau′noscope, an apparatus for imitating thunder and lightning in ancient mysteries.

  • Here is a piece of Belemnite in limestone, and the fracture in the fossil presents the usual glistening planes of cleavage.

  • The ink-bags of the Belemnite also are sometimes preserved, and we see how it could balk a pursuer by darkening the waters.

  • The wonderful shell-fishes of the Ammonite group, and the cuttle-fishes of the Belemnite type, share the same fate.

  • The very form of the belemnite at once suggests the notion of a dart or lance-head, which has gained for it its scientific name.

    Falling in Love

    Grant Allen

British Dictionary definitions for belemnite



any extinct marine cephalopod mollusc of the order Belemnoidea, related to the cuttlefish
the long pointed conical internal shell of any of these animals: a common Mesozoic fossil

Word Origin for belemnite

C17: from Greek belemnon dart
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

belemnite in Science



Any of various extinct cephalopod mollusks of the order Belemnoidea that lived from the Triassic into the Tertiary Period. Belemnites had a large, cone-shaped internal shell with a complex structure that served as a support for muscles and as a hydrostatic device. Belemnites were closely related to the present-day squids and cuttlefishes.
The fossilized internal shell of one of these cephalopods. Belemnites are used as index fossils.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.