General Science

  • noun a long pointed growth of mineral from the ceiling of a cave, formed by the constant dripping of water which is rich in minerals


  • A downward-pointing deposit formed as an accretion of mineral matter produced by evaporation of dripping water from the surface of rock or of concrete; commonly shaped like an icicle. See also stalagmite.

Origin & History of “stalactite”

A stalactite is etymologically something that ‘drips’. The word was coined in modern Latin as stalactītēs, based on Greek stalaktós ‘dripping’, a derivative of the verb stalássein ‘drip’. also derived from stalássein was stalagmós ‘dropping’, which formed the basis of stalagmite (17th c.).