• synonyms


  1. Geology.
    1. (loosely) petrology.
    2. the physical characteristics of a rock or stratigraphic unit.
  2. Medicine/Medical. the study of the formation, pathology, and treatment of stones in the human body.
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Origin of lithology

First recorded in 1710–20; litho- + -logy
Related formslith·o·log·ic [lith-uh-loj-ik] /ˌlɪθ əˈlɒdʒ ɪk/, lith·o·log·i·cal, adjectivelith·o·log·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lithology

Historical Examples of lithology

  • The second year's work with lithology is carried on largely in the same way as with mineralogy.

    Appletons' Popular Science Monthly, September 1899


  • It is nearly impossible to provide so abundantly, however, as for mineralogy and lithology.

  • His observations on the lithology of the deposits accumulated beneath the sea were of special interest and importance.

  • We might say that a 'young lady, eminent for great skill in lithology, famed as the discoverer,' etc.


    R. D. Blackmore

  • Stone, as in lithology, the branch of medical science, relating to calculi or concretions.

British Dictionary definitions for lithology


  1. the physical characteristics of a rock, including colour, composition, and texture
  2. the study of rocks
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Derived Formslithologic (ˌlɪθəˈlɒdʒɪk) or lithological, adjectivelithologically, adverblithologist, noun
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 lithology


study of rock-formation, 1716, from Modern Latin lithologia, from litho- + -logia (see -logy).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lithology in Science


  1. The scientific study and description of rocks, especially at the macroscopic level, in terms of their color, texture, and composition.
  2. The gross physical character of a rock or rock formation.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.