1. an obelisk, column, large statue, etc., formed of a single block of stone.
  2. a single block or piece of stone of considerable size, especially when used in architecture or sculpture.
  3. something having a uniform, massive, redoubtable, or inflexible quality or character.

Origin of monolith

1820–30; < Latin monolithus < Greek monólithos made of one stone. See mono-, -lith
Related formsmon·o·lith·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for monolithism


  1. a large block of stone or anything that resembles one in appearance, intractability, etc
  2. a statue, obelisk, column, etc, cut from one block of stone
  3. a large hollow foundation piece sunk as a caisson and having a number of compartments that are filled with concrete when it has reached its correct position

Word Origin for monolith

C19: via French from Greek monolithos made from a single 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 monolithism



"column consisting of a single large block of stone," 1848, from French monolithe (16c.), from Latin monolithus (adj.) "consisting of a single stone," from Greek monolithos "made of one stone," from monos "single, alone" (see mono-) + lithos "stone." Transferred and figurative use is from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper