One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A distorted form of stalactite, typically resembling a twig.
- ‘At Lehman Caves, sign up early for one of the guided tours through an otherworldly half mile of stalactites, stalagmites, and twisting, straw-shaped helictites.’
- ‘Here the weird crystals and tree helictites provide another view to wonder at on a totally different scale.’
- ‘This has all the usual features one might expect in a cave - hundreds of stalagmites, stalactites and even helictites (strangely twisted stalactites).’
- ‘Near the end, a moderate crawl led to another cluster of crystals and helictites, though only a few of the group bothered with the crawl.’
- ‘After a brief pause to examine the tangled helictites in total amazement we crawled on.’
Late 19th century: from Greek heliktos ‘twisted’, on the pattern of stalactite.
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