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[mil-stohn] /ˈmɪlˌstoʊn/
either of a pair of circular stones between which grain or another substance is ground, as in a mill.
anything that grinds or crushes.
any heavy mental or emotional burden (often used in the phrase a millstone around one's neck).
Origin of millstone
before 1050; Middle English milneston, Old English mylenstān. See mill1, stone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for millstone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • About three o'clock we came again to millstone River, which we again waded over, but it had gradually become smaller.

  • Can't you see through a millstone when there is a hole in it?

    In School and Out Oliver Optic
  • For all, eyes that, by his own boast, “can see into a millstone as far as the man who picks it.”

  • It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea.

    Familiar Quotations John Bartlett
  • I wish you joy of being released from the millstone of an American war.

  • The material cares of life hang about your neck like a millstone.

    Anna the Adventuress E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Probably the millstone which crushed the head of Abimelech at Thebez (Judges 9:53) was the upper stone of a saddle quern.

    Archology and the Bible George A. Barton
  • You are a man of promise; and you might as well hang a millstone round your neck as a wife.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
British Dictionary definitions for millstone


one of a pair of heavy flat disc-shaped stones that are rotated one against the other to grind grain
a heavy burden, such as a responsibility or obligation: his debts were a millstone round his neck
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 millstone

Old English mylenstan, from mill (n.1) + stone (n.). Figurative sense of "a burden" (1720) is from Matt. xviii:6.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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