or load·stone



a variety of magnetite that possesses magnetic polarity and attracts iron.
a piece of this serving as a magnet.
something that attracts strongly.

Origin of lodestone

1505–15; lode (in obsolete sense “way, course”) + stone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lodestone

Contemporary Examples of lodestone

Historical Examples of lodestone

  • These properties of amber and lodestone appear to have been widely known.

  • It was the lodestone which had served to draw this woman once more into the danger zone.


    Alan Douglas

  • His glance went to the portrait, and his feet followed, as to a lodestone.

    Coniston, Complete

    Winston Churchill

  • That thought became his lodestone, and he left all his other work to accomplish it.

    Historic Inventions

    Rupert S. Holland

  • How early the compass, or lodestone, was known in the North is uncertain.

British Dictionary definitions for lodestone




  1. a rock that consists of pure or nearly pure magnetite and thus is naturally magnetic
  2. a piece of such rock, which can be used as a magnet and which was formerly used as a primitive compass
a person or thing regarded as a focus of attraction

Word Origin for lodestone

C16: literally: guiding stone
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 lodestone

"magnetically polarized oxide of iron," 1510s, literally "way-stone," from lode + stone (n.). So called because it was used to make compass magnets to guide mariners. Figurative use from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lodestone in Science


A piece of the mineral magnetite that acts like a magnet.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.