[ kuh-lee-chee ]
/ kəˈli tʃi /

noun Geology.

a surface deposit consisting of sand or clay impregnated with crystalline salts such as sodium nitrate or sodium chloride.
a zone of calcium carbonate or other carbonates in soils of semiarid regions.

Nearby words

  1. calice,
  2. caliceal,
  3. calicectasis,
  4. calicectomy,
  5. calices,
  6. calicle,
  7. calico,
  8. calico bass,
  9. calico bug,
  10. calico bush

Compare duricrust, hardpan.

Origin of caliche

1855–60; < Spanish: flake of lime, equivalent to cal lime (< Latin calc-; see chalk) + -iche noun suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for caliche

British Dictionary definitions for caliche


/ (kæˈliːtʃɪ) /


Also called: calcrete a bed of sand or clay in arid regions cemented by calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, and other soluble minerals
a surface layer of soil encrusted with calcium carbonate, occurring in arid regionsAlso called: duricrust

Word Origin for caliche

C20: from American Spanish, from Latin 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 caliche



sodium nitrate deposits in Chile and Peru, 1858, from American Spanish, from Spanish caliche "pebble in a brick," from Latin calx "pebble" (see chalk (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for caliche


[ kə-lēchē ]

See hardpan.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.