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lodestone

[lohd-stohn] /ˈloʊdˌstoʊn/
noun
1.
a variety of magnetite that possesses magnetic polarity and attracts iron.
2.
a piece of this serving as a magnet.
3.
something that attracts strongly.
Also, loadstone.
Origin
1505-1515
1505-15; lode (in obsolete sense “way, course”) + stone
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for lodestone
  • The difficulty in identifying wetlands is only one of several factors that make their regulation a lodestone for controversy.
  • It is appropriate to acknowledge and use the lodestone quality our merit system principles provide.
British Dictionary definitions for lodestone

lodestone

/ˈləʊdˌstəʊn/
noun
1.
  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
2.
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
n.

"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
  (lōd'stōn')   
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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