Dictionary.com

lith

[ lith ]
/ lɪθ /
Save This Word!

Definition of lith

noun British Dialect.
an arm or leg; limb.
a joint, as of the finger.
a segment, as of an orange.
QUIZ
GOOSES. GEESES. I WANT THIS QUIZ ON PLURAL NOUNS!
Test how much you really know about regular and irregular plural nouns with this quiz.
Question 1 of 9
Which of the following nouns has an irregular plural form?

Origin of lith

before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch, Old High German lid,Old Norse lithr,Gothic lithus limb, member; akin to German Glied

Other definitions for lith (2 of 5)

lith-

variant of litho- before a vowel: lithic.

Other definitions for lith (3 of 5)

-lith

a combining form meaning “stone” (acrolith; megalith; paleolith); sometimes occurring in words as a variant form of -lite (batholith; laccolith).
Compare -lite.

Origin of -lith

see origin at litho-

Other definitions for lith (4 of 5)

lith.

abbreviation
lithograph.
lithographic.
lithography.

Other definitions for lith (5 of 5)

Lith.

abbreviation
Lithuania.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

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

British Dictionary definitions for lith (1 of 2)

-lith

n combining form
indicating stone or rockmegalith Compare -lite

Word Origin for -lith

from Greek lithos stone

British Dictionary definitions for lith (2 of 2)

Lith.

abbreviation for
Lithuania(n)
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 lith

-lith

suff.
Mineral concretion; calculus:cystolith.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
FEEDBACK