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[mon-uh-lith] /ˈmɒn ə lɪθ/
an obelisk, column, large statue, etc., formed of a single block of stone.
a single block or piece of stone of considerable size, especially when used in architecture or sculpture.
something having a uniform, massive, redoubtable, or inflexible quality or character.
Origin of monolith
1820-30; < Latin monolithus < Greek monólithos made of one stone. See mono-, -lith
Related forms
monolithism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for monolith
  • Beginning as a thin veneer for older software code, it has become an obese monolith built on an ancient frame.
  • It is probably the result of a collision that shattered a pre-existing monolith.
  • However, the state is far from being a predictable monolith.
  • The walls, caves, and alcoves of this sandstone monolith are adorned with their elaborate pictographs.
  • What once appeared an extreme anti-Western monolith splintered into different factions.
British Dictionary definitions for monolith


a large block of stone or anything that resembles one in appearance, intractability, etc
a statue, obelisk, column, etc, cut from one block of stone
a large hollow foundation piece sunk as a caisson and having a number of compartments that are filled with concrete when it has reached its correct position
Word Origin
C19: via French from Greek monolithos made from a single 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 monolith

"column consisting of a single large block of stone," 1848, from French monolithe (16c.), from Latin monolithus (adj.) "consisting of a single stone," from Greek monolithos "made of one stone," from monos "single, alone" (see mono-) + lithos "stone." Transferred and figurative use is from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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