[sahr-suh n]


any of numerous large sandstone blocks or fragments found in south-central England, probably remnants of eroded Tertiary beds.

Origin of sarsen

1635–45; syncopated variant of Saracen, short for Saracen boulder Druid stone
Also called Druid stone, graywether. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for sarsen



geology a boulder of silicified sandstone, probably of Tertiary age, found in large numbers in S England
such a stone used in a megalithic monument
Also called: greywether

Word Origin for sarsen

C17: probably a variant of Saracen
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 sarsen

"large sandstone boulder," 1640s, properly sarsen stone, i.e. "Saracen stone," from Saracen in the old sense of "pagan, heathen." The same word was applied to the ancient leavings outside Cornish tin mines, also known as Jews' pits, those being the terms that came to mind once to describe any ancient features, based on the Bible.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper