[ hoh-lee-stohn ]
/ ˈhoʊ liˌstoʊn /


a block of soft sandstone used in scrubbing the decks of a ship.

verb (used with object), ho·ly·stoned, ho·ly·ston·ing.

to scrub with a holystone.

Nearby words

  1. holyoake,
  2. holyoake, sir keith jacka,
  3. holyoke,
  4. holyrood,
  5. holyroodhouse,
  6. holytide,
  7. hom,
  8. hom-,
  9. homa,
  10. homage

Origin of holystone

1815–25; holy + stone; perhaps orig. jocular or profane

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for holystone

British Dictionary definitions for holystone


/ (ˈhəʊlɪˌstəʊn) /


a soft sandstone used for scrubbing the decks of a vessel


(tr) to scrub (a vessel's decks) with a holystone

Word Origin for holystone

C19: perhaps so named from its being used in a kneeling position

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 holystone



soft sandstone used to scrub decks of sailing ships, 1777, despite the spelling, so called perhaps because it is full of holes. As a verb, by 1828.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper