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basalt

[buh-sawlt, bas-awlt, bey-sawlt] /bəˈsɔlt, ˈbæs ɔlt, ˈbeɪ sɔlt/
noun
1.
the dark, dense igneous rock of a lava flow or minor intrusion, composed essentially of labradorite and pyroxene and often displaying a columnar structure.
Origin
1595-1605
1595-1605; < Latin basaltēs, a misreading, in manuscripts of Pliny, of basanītēs < Greek basanī́tēs (líthos) touchstone, equivalent to básan(os) touchstone (ultimately < Egyptian bh̬n(w) graywacke) + -ītēs -ite1
Related forms
basaltic, basaltine
[buh-sawl-tin, -tahyn] /bəˈsɔl tɪn, -taɪn/ (Show IPA),
adjective
subbasaltic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for basaltine

basalt

/ˈbæsɔːlt/
noun
1.
a fine-grained dark basic igneous rock consisting of plagioclase feldspar, a pyroxene, and olivine: the most common volcanic rock and usually extrusive See flood basalt
2.
a form of black unglazed pottery resembling basalt
Derived Forms
basaltic, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Late Latin basaltēs, variant of basanītēs, from Greek basanitēs touchstone, from basanos, of Egyptian origin
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
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Word Origin and History for basaltine

basalt

n.

c.1600, from Late Latin basaltes, misspelling of Latin basanites "very hard stone," from Greek basanites "a species of slate used to test gold," from basanos "touchstone." Not connected with salt. Said by Pliny ["Historia," 36.58] to be an African word, perhaps Egyptian bauhan "slate." Any hard, very dark rock would do as a touchstone; the assayer compared the streak left by the alleged gold with that of real gold or baser metals. Hence Greek basanizein "to be put to the test, examined closely, cross-examined, to be put to torture."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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basaltine in Science
basalt
  (bə-sôlt', bā'sôlt')   
A dark, fine-grained, igneous rock consisting mostly of plagioclase feldspar and pyroxene, and sometimes olivine. Basalt makes up most of the ocean floor and is the most common type of lava. It sometimes cools into characteristic hexagonal columns, as in the Giant's Causeway in Anterim, Northern Island. It is the fine-grained equivalent of gabbro.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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basaltine in Culture
basalt [(buh-sawlt, bay-sawlt)]

A hard, dense igneous rock that makes up much of the material in tectonic plates. The part of the Earth's crust beneath the oceans consists mainly of basalt whereas continental crust consists mainly of less dense rocks, such as granite. (See plate tectonics.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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