[ stahy-luhs ]

noun,plural sty·li [stahy-lahy], /ˈstaɪ laɪ/, sty·lus·es.
  1. an instrument of metal, bone, or the like, used by the ancients for writing on waxed tablets, having one end pointed for incising the letters and the other end blunt for rubbing out writing and smoothing the tablet.

  2. any of various pointed, pen-shaped instruments used in drawing, artwork, etc.

  1. Computers. a pen-shaped device used on a display screen to input commands or handwritten text or drawings.: Compare joystick (def. 2), mouse (def. 4).

  2. Audio.

    • Also called cutting stylus. a needle used for cutting grooves in making a disk recording to be played on a phonograph.

    • a needle for reproducing the sounds of a phonograph record.

  3. any of various pointed wedges used to punch holes in paper or other material, as in writing Braille.

  4. any of various kinds of pens for tracing a line automatically, as on a recording seismograph or electrocardiograph.

Origin of stylus

1720–30; <Latin: spelling variant of stilus stake, pointed writing instrument; spelling with -y- from fancied derivation <Greek stŷlos column
  • Also style (for defs. 1, 2).

Words Nearby stylus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use stylus in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stylus


/ (ˈstaɪləs) /

nounplural -li (-laɪ) or -luses
  1. Also called: style a pointed instrument for engraving, drawing, or writing

  2. a tool used in ancient times for writing on wax tablets, which was pointed at one end and blunt at the other for erasing mistakes

  1. a device attached to the cartridge in the pick-up arm of a record player that rests in the groove in the record, transmitting the vibrations to the sensing device in the cartridge. It consists of or is tipped with a hard material, such as diamond or sapphire

Origin of stylus

C18: from Latin, variant of stilus writing implement; see style

Derived forms of stylus

  • stylar, adjective

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