Origin of lith
Other definitions for lith (2 of 5)
Other definitions for lith (3 of 5)
Origin of -lith
Other definitions for lith (4 of 5)
Other definitions for lith (5 of 5)
WORDS THAT USE LITH- OR -LITH
Basic definitions of lith- and -lith
Lith- and -lith are combining forms meaning “stone.” They come from the Greek líthos, meaning “stone.”
What does lith- mean?
Lith- is a combining form used like a prefix. It is used in medicine, especially in pathology, and in science, especially in geology.
In pathology terms, lith- specifically refers to a calculus, “a stone, or concretion, formed in the gallbladder, kidneys, or other parts of the body.” The word calculus itself literally means “little stone” in calculus.
Lith- is a variant of litho-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use litho- article.
What does -lith mean?
The combining form -lith is used like a suffix meaning “stone.” It is used in scientific and medical terms, especially in geology and pathology.
In pathology, it specifically refers to a calculus, “a stone, or concretion, formed in the gallbladder, kidneys, or other parts of the body.” The word calculus itself literally means “little stone” in calculus.
In geology, -lith is occasionally used as a variant of -lite and its variant -lyte, combining forms used to name minerals or fossils.
The corresponding form of -lith combined to the beginning of words is litho- and lith-. Learn more about their specific applications in our Words That Use articles for the terms.
Closely related to -lith is -lithic, as in Paleolithic.
Examples of lith- used like a prefix
Lithectomy, also known as a lithotomy, is an example of a medical term that features the combining form lith-. It means “surgery to remove one or more stones from an organ or duct.”
The lith- portion of the word means “stone.” The -ectomy portion may also look familiar; it means “excision” or “removal.” Lithectomy literally translates to “stone removal.”
What are some words that use the combining form lith-?
Many of the following terms use the equivalent form of lith- in Greek or Latin.
What are some other forms that lith- may be commonly confused with?
Not every word that begins with the exact letters lith- is necessarily using the combining forming lith- to denote “stone.” One is lith, an archaic word for a “limb” that comes from Germanic roots. Another is lithe. Learn the meaning and history of lithe at our entry for the word.
Break it down!
The suffix -ify means “to become” or “be made.” With this in mind, what does it mean when a substance such as sediment becomes lithified?
Examples of lith- used like a suffix
An example of a word you may have encountered that features -lith is monolith, “an obelisk, column, large statue, etc., formed of a single block of stone.” The word comes from the Greek monólithos, which uses the equivalent of the form mono-.
We know mono- means “one,” so what about the -lith portion of the word? That’s right, -lith refers to “stone,” from the Greek líthos. Monolith literally translates to “single stone.”
What are some words that use the combining form -lith?
What are some other forms that -lith may be commonly confused with?
Break it down!
The combining form mega- means “large, great, grand.” With this in mind, what is a megalith, such as those found at Stonehenge?
How to use lith in a sentence
Acrolith, ak′ro-lith, n. a statue of the earlier Greek artists having the trunk made of wood and the extremities of stone.
Lathyrus sylvestris, narrow-leaved, or wild lathyrus—in the bushes at the foot of the Short Lith, near the path.The Natural History of Selborne, Vol. 2|Gilbert White
Peristalith, pe-ris′ta-lith, n. a series of standing stones surrounding a barrow or burial-mound.
According to a northern version of the ballad, he makes a plectrum from 'a lith of her finger bane.'The Balladists|John Geddie
Lithuanian, for example, retains the archaic diphthongs which disappear in Slavonic—Lith.