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[pur-lahyt] /ˈpɜr laɪt/
noun, Petrography
a volcanic glass in which concentric fractures impart a distinctive structure resembling masses of small spheroids, used as a plant growth medium.
Origin of perlite
1825-35; < French; see pearl1, -ite1
Related forms
[pur-lit-ik] /pɜrˈlɪt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for perlite
  • Concrete blocks are also sometimes filled with vermiculite or perlite pellets.
  • Some less common types of loose-fill insulation include polystyrene beads and vermiculite and perlite.
  • Older homes may have granular vermiculite or perlite loose-fill insulation that is no longer used.
  • Processed perlite is used as loose fill insulation material or bound into slabs.
  • Citrus can be grown in a mixture of equal parts of peat, perlite, and a good garden loam.
British Dictionary definitions for perlite


a variety of obsidian consisting of masses of small pearly globules: used as a filler, insulator, and soil conditioner
Derived Forms
perlitic, pearlitic (pɜːˈlɪtɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from French, from perlepearl1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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