a hard stone, a form of silica resembling chalcedony but more opaque, less pure, and less lustrous.
a piece of this, especially as used for striking fire.
a chunk of this used as a primitive tool or as the core from which such a tool was struck.
something very hard or unyielding.
a small piece of metal, usually an iron alloy, used to produce a spark to ignite the fuel in a cigarette lighter.

verb (used with object)

to furnish with flint.

Origin of flint

before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Middle Dutch vlint, Danish flint; cf. plinth
Related formsflint·like, adjective




Austin,1812–86, U.S. physician: founder of Bellevue and Buffalo medical colleges.
his sonAustin,1836–1915, U.S. physiologist and physician.
a city in SE Michigan.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flint

Contemporary Examples of flint

Historical Examples of flint

  • With a sharp piece of flint he cut the fur of the animal's back.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Red Morning had a club he had made, with a flint set into the side.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • I am the steel, d'ye see, which knocks the valour out of your flint.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Yet in all that time he only learned to grind his flint stones instead of chipping them.

  • It was as the steel of my determination striking upon the flint of hers.

British Dictionary definitions for flint



an impure opaque microcrystalline greyish-black form of quartz that occurs in chalk. It produces sparks when struck with steel and is used in the manufacture of pottery, flint glass, and road-construction materials. Formula: SiO 2
any piece of flint, esp one used as a primitive tool or for striking fire
a small cylindrical piece of an iron alloy, used in cigarette lighters
Also called: flint glass, white flint colourless glass other than plate glass


(tr) to fit or provide with a flint

Word Origin for flint

Old English; related to Old High German flins, Old Swedish flinta splinter of stone, Latin splendēre to shine



a town in NE Wales, in Flintshire, on the Dee estuary. Pop: 11 936 (2001)
a city in SE Michigan: closure of the car production plants led to a high level of unemployment. Pop: 120 292 (2003 est)
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 flint

Old English flint "flint, rock," common Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch vlint, Old High German flins, Danish flint), from PIE *splind- "to split, cleave," from root *(s)plei- "to splice, split" (cf. Greek plinthos "brick, tile," Old Irish slind "brick"). Transferred senses were in Old English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

flint in Science



A very hard, gray to black variety of chalcedony that makes sparks when it is struck with steel. It breaks with a conchoidal fracture.
The dark gray to black variety of chert.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.