• synonyms


[kal-kair-ee-uh s]
  1. of, containing, or like calcium carbonate; chalky: calcareous earth.
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Origin of calcareous

1670–80; variant of calcarious < Latin calcārius of lime; see calx, -ary
Related formscal·car·e·ous·ly, adverbcal·car·e·ous·ness, nounnon·cal·car·e·ous, adjectivesub·cal·car·e·ous, adjectiveun·cal·car·e·ous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for calcareous

Historical Examples of calcareous

  • Everywhere was the universal whiteness of the calcareous deposit.

    The Wonder Island Boys: The Tribesmen

    Roger Finlay

  • Some of these trees had the most calcareous foundations anybody ever saw.

    A Jolly Fellowship

    Frank R. Stockton

  • The tail is likewise covered with a series of calcareous rings.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • If the soil is not calcareous by nature, it must be made so artificially.

    The Peanut Plant

    B. W. Jones

  • The burrows are about an inch deep, and are lined with a calcareous deposit.

    The Sea Shore

    William S. Furneaux

British Dictionary definitions for calcareous


  1. of, containing, or resembling calcium carbonate; chalky
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Word Origin for calcareous

C17: from Latin calcārius, from calx lime
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 calcareous


also calcarious, 1670s, from Latin calcarius "of lime," from calx (genitive calcis) "lime, limestone" (see chalk (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

calcareous in Medicine


  1. Composed of, containing, or characteristic of calcium carbonate, calcium, or limestone; chalky.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

calcareous in Science


  1. Composed of or containing calcium or calcium carbonate. Calcareous rocks contain as much as 50 percent calcium carbonate.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.