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[sohp-stohn] /ˈsoʊpˌstoʊn/
a massive variety of talc with a soapy or greasy feel, used for hearths, washtubs, tabletops, carved ornaments, etc.
Also called steatite.
Origin of soapstone
1675-85; soap + stone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for soapstone
Historical Examples
  • One night, 'long towards Thanksgivin' time, I kicked the soapstone out o' bed, an' he come runnin' up as if he was bewitched.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • Popularly the terms talc and soapstone are often used synonymously.

  • The outlines may be drawn in advance with slate pencil or soapstone, and then traced with chalk in the presence of the class.

    The Rand-McNally Bible Atlas Jesse L. Hurlbut
  • The blue rocks are hollowed like soapstone by the rush of the water.

    From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling
  • They took off my outer clothes and put them on the rack above the soapstone lamp to dry, and waited on me most kindly.

  • It was of solid oak, of a texture as firm and grainless almost as soapstone.

    Old Plymouth Trails Winthrop Packard
  • The stones for fireless cookers are usually made of soapstone or some composite which will absorb considerable heat.

    Mechanical Devices in the Home Edith Louise Allen
  • They can easily be warmed with a hot-water bag, flat-iron, or soapstone.

    How to Live Irving Fisher and Eugene Fisk
  • It had a soapstone mantel, with fluted pilasters, and a brown-stone hearth and jambs.

    We Girls: A Home Story Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney
  • The tubs are of soapstone, at the opposite side of the room from the ironing-table.

British Dictionary definitions for soapstone


a massive compact soft variety of talc, used for making tabletops, hearths, ornaments, etc Also called steatite
Word Origin
C17: so called because it has a greasy feel and was sometimes used as soap
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 soapstone

type of talc, 1680s, from soap (n.) + stone (n.). So called because it is occasionally used for cleaning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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soapstone in Science
A soft metamorphic rock composed mostly of the mineral talc, but also including chlorite, pyroxene, and amphibole. It has a schistose texture and is greasy to the touch. Soapstone forms through the alteration of ferromagnesian silicate minerals during metamorphism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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