[ zen-l-ith ]
/ ˈzɛn l ɪθ /

noun Petrography.

a rock fragment foreign to the igneous rock in which it is embedded.

Nearby words

  1. xenogenetic,
  2. xenogenic,
  3. xenogeny,
  4. xenoglossia,
  5. xenograft,
  6. xenomorphic,
  7. xenon,
  8. xenon arc,
  9. xenon hexafluoride,
  10. xenon tetrafluoride

Origin of xenolith

First recorded in 1900–05; xeno- + -lith

Also called inclusion.

Related formsxen·o·lith·ic, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for xenolith


/ (ˈzɛnəlɪθ) /


a fragment of rock differing in origin, composition, structure, etc, from the igneous rock enclosing it
Derived Formsxenolithic, 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

Word Origin and History for xenolith



1894, from xeno- "foreign, strange" + -lith "stone."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for xenolith


[ zĕnə-lĭth′, zēnə- ]

A rock fragment foreign to the igneous mass in which it occurs. Xenoliths usually become incorporated into a cooling magma body when pieces of the rock into which the magma was injected break off and fall into it. Compare xenocryst.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.