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lith

[ lith ]
/ lɪθ /
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noun British Dialect.

an arm or leg; limb.
a joint, as of the finger.
a segment, as of an orange.

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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

Definition for lith (2 of 5)

lith-

variant of litho- before a vowel: lithic.

Definition 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-

Definition for lith (4 of 5)

lith.

abbreviation

lithograph.
lithographic.
lithography.

Definition for lith (5 of 5)

Lith.

abbreviation

Lithuania.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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?

British Dictionary definitions for lith (1 of 2)

-lith

n combining form

indicating stone or rockmegalith Compare -lite
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.
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