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or loadstone

[lohd-stohn] /ˈloʊdˌstoʊn/
a variety of magnetite that possesses magnetic polarity and attracts iron.
a piece of this serving as a magnet.
something that attracts strongly.
Origin of lodestone
1505-15; lode (in obsolete sense “way, course”) + stone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for lodestone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Again he noticed that wherever she was she was a lodestone for all eyes.

    Bambi Marjorie Benton Cooke
  • These properties of amber and lodestone appear to have been widely known.

  • Haven't you seen a lodestone or a bit of steel in the shape of a horseshoe that will pick up a needle of its own power?

    The Nightrider's Feud Walter C. McConnell
  • His glance went to the portrait, and his feet followed, as to a lodestone.

    Coniston, Complete Winston Churchill
  • lodestone can impart its qualities to hard steel without the impairment of its own power.

    Among the Forces Henry White Warren
  • That thought became his lodestone, and he left all his other work to accomplish it.

    Historic Inventions Rupert S. Holland
  • Muhamed Isa leads the way on foot; he is the lodestone which draws after it the whole company.

  • How early the compass, or lodestone, was known in the North is uncertain.

British Dictionary definitions for lodestone


  1. a rock that consists of pure or nearly pure magnetite and thus is naturally magnetic
  2. a piece of such rock, which can be used as a magnet and which was formerly used as a primitive compass
a person or thing regarded as a focus of attraction
Word Origin
C16: literally: guiding 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
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Word Origin and History for lodestone

"magnetically polarized oxide of iron," 1510s, literally "way-stone," from lode + stone (n.). So called because it was used to make compass magnets to guide mariners. Figurative use from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lodestone in Science
lodestone also loadstone
A piece of the mineral magnetite that acts like a magnet.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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