stone / stōn/ • n. 1. the hard, solid, nonmetallic mineral matter of which rock is made, esp. as a building material: the houses are built of stone | [as adj.] high stone walls. ∎ a small piece of rock found on the ground. ∎ (in metaphorical use) weight or lack of feeling, expression, or movement: Isabel stood as if turned to stone her face became as hard as stone the elevator dropped like a stone. ∎ Astron. a meteorite made of rock, as opposed to metal. ∎ Med. a calculus; a gallstone or kidney stone. 2. a piece of stone shaped for a purpose, esp. one of commemoration, ceremony, or demarcation: a memorial stone boundary stones. ∎ a gem or jewel. ∎ short for curling stone. ∎ a round piece or counter, originally made of stone, used in various board games such as backgammon. ∎ a large flat table or sheet, originally made of stone and later usually of metal, on which pages of type were made up. 3. a hard seed in a cherry, plum, peach, and some other fruits. 4. (pl. same) Brit. a unit of weight equal to 14 pounds (6.35 kg): I weighed 10 stone. 5. a natural shade of whitish-gray or brownish-gray: [as adj.] stone stretch trousers. • v. [tr.] 1. throw stones at: policemen were stoned by the crowd. ∎ chiefly hist. execute (someone) by throwing stones at them: Stephen was stoned to death in Jerusalem. 2. remove the stone from (a fruit): halve, stone, and peel the avocados. 3. build, face, or pave with stone. PHRASES: be written (or engraved or set) in stone used to emphasize that something is fixed and unchangeable: anything can change—nothing is written in stone. cast (or throw) the first stone be the first to make an accusation (used to emphasize that a potential critic is not wholly blameless). leave no stone unturned try every possible course of action in order to achieve something. stone me! (or stone the crows!) Brit., inf. an exclamation of surprise or shock. a stone's throw a short distance: wild whales blowing a stone's throw from the boat.DERIVATIVES: stone·less adj.
A stone is the emblem of St Stephen and St Jerome.
set in stone used to emphasize that something is fixed and unchangeable (often in negative contexts). The allusion is to the Ten Commandments handed down to Moses on tablets of stone (Exodus 31:18).
Stone Age a prehistoric period when weapons and tools were made of stone or of organic materials such as bone, wood, or horn; it covers a period of about 2.5 million years, from the first use of tools by the ancestors of man (Australopithecus) to the introduction of agriculture and the first towns.
stone-dead hath no fellow proverbial saying, mid 17th century; traditionally used by advocates of the death penalty, or to suggest that only when a dangerous person is dead can one be sure that they will cause no further trouble.
Stone of Scone the stone on which medieval Scottish kings were crowned at Scone. It was brought to England by Edward I and preserved in the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey, and returned to Scotland in 1996. Also called Coronation stone, Stone of Destiny.
a stone's throw a short distance.
See also you cannot get blood from a stone, cast the first stone, heart of stone, kill two birds with one stone, leave no stone unturned, white stone.
Hence stone vb. XII. stony (-Y1) OE. stāniġ.