• synonyms


noun Geology.
  1. a reddish ferruginous soil formed in tropical regions by the decomposition of the underlying rocks.
  2. a similar soil formed of materials deposited by water.
  3. any soil produced by the decomposition of the rocks beneath it.
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Origin of laterite

1800–10; < Latin later brick, tile + -ite1
Related formslat·er·it·ic [lat-uh-rit-ik] /ˌlæt əˈrɪt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lateritic

Historical Examples

  • They are formed in the same way as the lateritic iron ores of Cuba, and from the same sort of rocks (pp. 171-173).

    The Economic Aspect of Geology

    C. K. Leith

  • Bauxite and lateritic iron ores, for instance, are known to favor tropical climates.

  • Lateritic or highly aluminous clays, of a highly refractory character, but low plasticity.

British Dictionary definitions for lateritic


  1. any of a group of deposits consisting of residual insoluble deposits of ferric and aluminium oxides: formed by weathering of rocks in tropical regions
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Derived Formslateritic (ˌlætəˈrɪtɪk), adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Latin later brick, tile
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

lateritic in Science


  1. A red, porous, claylike soil formed by the leaching of silica-rich components and enrichment of aluminum and iron hydroxides. They are especially common in humid climates. Laterites that are poor in iron oxides and rich in aluminum oxides are called bauxites. Also called latosol See more at bauxite.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.