Definition of flint in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A hard grey rock consisting of nearly pure silica (chert), occurring chiefly as nodules in chalk.

    ‘houses built of brick and flint’
    [as modifier] ‘flint implements’
    • ‘Like the first, it includes some world-class localities, such as gypsum crystals from Eilsworth and flint from Flint Ridge.’
    • ‘Silica precipitated from aqueous solution at low temperatures gives cryptocrystalline varieties such as opal, jasper, chalcedony, agate, carnelian, onyx, flint, and chert.’
    • ‘The artifacts recovered from these excavations will give a clearer picture of the technology and particularly their production and use of flint and chert.’
    • ‘Fieldwalking revealed a wide range of lithic materials used for cutting tools, including local gravel, Pennine chert and flint from the Wolds and coast.’
    • ‘The white to gray flint bed, 2.5 meters thick, rests on gray fossiliferous Vanport Limestone.’
    • ‘Indeed, when hafted lithic tools were broken or became worn out, trips to flint or chert sources would have been necessary.’
    • ‘At the base of the Reading Formation are several metres of brown clay-rich sand with glauconite, flint pebbles and oyster shells.’
    • ‘Sandbodies are abruptly overlain by bioturbated sandy muds with flint pebble horizons that represent transgressive reworking of the delta top and deepening into open shelf conditions.’
    • ‘It passes upwards into almost flat-lying white coccolith chalk with parallel lines of black flint nodules.’
    • ‘Traces of siliceous spicules in the flint indicate that colonies of sponges populated the ancient seas in which the flint was deposited and were the source of silica for the flint beds.’
    1. 1.1[count noun]A piece of flint, especially as flaked or ground in ancient times to form a tool or weapon.
      ‘the early settlers also found a ready supply of flints in the chalk cliffs’
      • ‘It was associated with a cobbled ‘work area’ covered by vast quantities of pottery, five stone axes, a number of broken tools and flints.’
      • ‘Worked flints are densest in the chalk deposits, where their concentration is exceptionally high at around 2000 per cubic metre.’
      • ‘Bronze Age and Neolithic pottery and flints from the basal soil and the colluvium indicate that a settlement was nearby.’
      • ‘The site is dated by large quantities of Mesolithic flints, such as crescent-shaped microliths, scrapers and points.’
      • ‘Led by Dr Susan Ovenden, the new geophysics scans hope to clarify anomalies previously detected near a scattering of Mesolithic flints found during the excavation of the Bronze Age barrow on the Tankerness site.’
      • ‘This will hold burins and small denticulate flints.’
      • ‘Excavations at the site produced over 300 worked flints of early-middle Mesolithic type.’
      • ‘Within and under the mound were human bones from at least ten inhumations (three in stone cists and a fourth in a rock-cut grave), flints, animal bones, and the parts of two Neolithic pots.’
      • ‘When I go metal-detecting I often pick up worked flints and pieces of pottery as well as metal objects.’
      • ‘Winchester Museum also holds many flints and other ancient artefacts from this area.’
    2. 1.2[count noun]A piece of flint used with steel to produce an igniting spark, e.g. in a flintlock gun, or (in modern use) a piece of an alloy used similarly, especially in a cigarette lighter.
      ‘he struck a light with his flint’
      • ‘Dom flicked the striker with his thumb which rolled against the flint, it then made a spark that ignited the fuel it contained, creating a small flame.’
      • ‘Sparks arose from the flint and firestone, and soon the torch became ablaze.’
      • ‘The rare earths once had a valuable function in gas mantles and lighter flints.’
      • ‘Lauren sparked her flints together against the wood.’
      • ‘I found boxes of cartridges, another hand-gun, tools for shoeing horses and a flint and steel for lighting fires.’
      • ‘Taking the flint and steel from his satchel, he cast sparks upon the torches, and they soon erupted into full flame.’
      • ‘She gathered some rocks together, and began trying to make a spark with the flint.’
      • ‘For example, an alloy of calcium and cerium is used in flints in cigarette and other types of lighters.’
      • ‘Percussion caps (invented in 1805 but heretofore little used) now replaced flints, but the basic weapon remained a smoothbore musket.’
      • ‘I found my husband's flint and steel and struck a spark.’
      • ‘Jade poked twigs that penetrated varied fish at the tips into the fire made from the flints Blade had packed as a former member of a fighting force and dry grass found around the area.’
      • ‘He shows Richard how to use a flint and steel and how to use hand-made sulphur matches called spunks.’
      • ‘I pull out my lighter, watch the flint spark to flame, and hold the outer edge of the bark an inch above the brightness.’
      • ‘Ester and Edna spent some time in the dark grove gathering wood, and Rachel sparked a flint over dried leaves before the altar, and soon they created a bright little fire.’
      • ‘Misch metal is used to make the flint in cigarette lighters.’
      • ‘The flint sparked, and the fuse was lit; the cannon exploded its shot out in an arc over the water, to another rattle.’
      • ‘For hundreds of years, firearms depended upon fiery sparks from the forced impact of flint upon steel.’
      • ‘I am interested in finding or at least getting a look at tools used to make gun flints.’
      • ‘He also demonstrated how the Vikings lit fires using flints, how they cooked, what they wore, and showed them how to play the tactical Viking game Hassle Taffle.’
      • ‘From his saddle bags Draco took two torches and some flint and steel to light them.’


Old English; related to Middle Dutch vlint and Old High German flins.