Definition of orthostat in English:



  • An upright stone or slab forming part of a structure or set in the ground.

    • ‘It comprised a ruined ring of small orthostats or stumps surrounding a kerb-cairn of near-contiguous slabs with a diameter of 4.9 x 5.7m.’
    • ‘You could see immediately where the chambered areas were, because you could see the tops of the orthostats - the standing slabs that define the chambered areas.’
    • ‘Other features include three low cairns in the northern sector; three hollows in the interior; and, in the south-west quadrant, a slight bank 7.5 m. long immediately inside the ring of orthostats.’
    • ‘Creevykeel is classified as a full-court tomb and shows a low line of kerbstones around the exterior of the cairn, with larger orthostats lining the court.’
    • ‘The orthostats of the passage support roof slabs, but at the very front of the passage is a unique ‘roof-box’ which allows light to shine into the tomb through a slot above the roof of the outer passage.’


Early 20th century: from Greek orthostatēs, from orthos right or straight + statos standing.