either of a pair of circular stones between which grain or another substance is ground, as in a mill.
anything that grinds or crushes.
any heavy mental or emotional burden (often used in the phrase a millstone around one's neck).

Origin of millstone

before 1050; Middle English milneston, Old English mylenstān. See mill1, stone Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for millstone

Contemporary Examples of millstone

Historical Examples of millstone

  • Thus, virtue did not become a burden, nor honor a millstone.

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

  • You have a heart harder than the millstone, more set than ice!

    The Wild Geese

    Stanley John Weyman

  • It were better for him that a millstone were hung about his neck and that he be cast into the deep.

  • No one ever got anywhere with anything with such a millstone around his neck.

    Evening Round Up

    William Crosbie Hunter

  • As man and millstone reached the sea the storm instantly ceased.

British Dictionary definitions for millstone



one of a pair of heavy flat disc-shaped stones that are rotated one against the other to grind grain
a heavy burden, such as a responsibility or obligationhis debts were a millstone round his neck
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 millstone

Old English mylenstan, from mill (n.1) + stone (n.). Figurative sense of "a burden" (1720) is from Matt. xviii:6.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper