diatomaceous earth


a fine siliceous earth composed chiefly of the cell walls of diatoms: used in filtration, as an abrasive, etc.

Words nearby diatomaceous earth

Origin of diatomaceous earth

First recorded in 1880–85
Also called di·at·o·mite [dahy-at-uh-mahyt] /daɪˈæt əˌmaɪt/, kieselguhr.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for diatomite

  • The bluish pellets of diatomite soaked in hydrocyanic acid were poured through chutes.

    My Visit To Hell|Christopher Buckley|January 30, 2009|DAILY BEAST
  • Diatomite is principally used for the manufacture of dynamite on account of its value as an absorbent.

British Dictionary definitions for diatomite (1 of 2)

/ (daɪˈætəˌmaɪt) /


a soft very fine-grained whitish rock consisting of the siliceous remains of diatoms deposited in the ocean or in ponds or lakes. It is used as an absorbent, filtering medium, insulator, filler, etcSee also diatomaceous earth

British Dictionary definitions for diatomite (2 of 2)

diatomaceous earth


an unconsolidated form of diatomiteAlso called: kieselguhr
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

Medical definitions for diatomite

diatomaceous earth
[ dī′ə-tə-māshəs, dī-ăt′ə- ]


A powder made of the desiccated shells of diatoms, used as a filtering agent, adsorbent, and abrasive in many chemical operations.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for diatomite

[ dī-ătə-mīt′ ]

A fine, light-colored, friable sedimentary rock consisting mainly of the silica-rich cell walls of diatoms. Diatomite forms both in lacustrine and marine environments. It is used in industry as a filler, filtering agent, absorbent, abrasive, and insulator.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.