1. a reddish-brown sandstone, used extensively as a building material.
  2. Also called brownstone front. a building, especially a row house, fronted with this stone.
  1. Archaic. belonging or pertaining to the well-to-do class.

Origin of brownstone

First recorded in 1830–40; brown + stone Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of brownstone

Historical Examples of brownstone

British Dictionary definitions for brownstone


noun US
  1. a reddish-brown iron-rich sandstone used for building
  2. a house built of or faced with this 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

Word Origin and History for brownstone

"dark sandstone," 1858, from brown (adj.) + stone (n.). As "house or building fronted with brownstone" from 1948.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper