1. any fossil plant of the genus Calamites and related genera of the Carboniferous Period, resembling oversized horsetails and constituting much of the coal used as fuel.

Origin of calamite

1745–55; < New Latin Calamites the genus name, Latin calamītēs < Greek kalamī́tēs reedlike. See calamus, -ite1
Related formscal·a·mi·te·an [kal-uh-mahy-tee-uh n] /ˌkæl əˈmaɪ ti ən/, adjectiveca·lam·i·toid [kuh-lam-i-toid] /kəˈlæm ɪˌtɔɪd/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for calamite

Historical Examples of calamite

British Dictionary definitions for calamite


  1. any extinct treelike plant of the genus Calamites, of Carboniferous times, related to the horsetails

Word Origin for calamite

C19: from New Latin Calamītes type genus, from Greek kalamitēs reedlike, from kalamos reed
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