Definition of stalactite in English:



  • A tapering structure hanging like an icicle from the roof of a cave, formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water.

    • ‘Stalagmites rise from shelves in the side of the cave and stalactites drop to just clear of my head.’
    • ‘Right below the stalactites, some stalagmites are forming.’
    • ‘Calcite, or calcium carbonate, is the main constituent of limestone and of cave formations such as stalagmites and stalactites.’
    • ‘We had plenty of time to admire the water clarity, the stalactites and stalagmites and the view of trees framed by the entrance.’
    • ‘Only the tops of a few mountains were left above water, and some of these became the Balearic Islands, with limestone caves full of stalagmites and stalactites.’
    • ‘His sharp eyes listened to the drops of limestone water forming new stalactites and stalagmites.’
    • ‘Limestone dissolved by trickling water has formed both stalagmites and stalactites, and the beauty of the Cave is notable in its own right.’
    • ‘Our path is frequently obstructed by various cave things like stalactites, stalagmites, and blind butterbats.’
    • ‘The largest developed limestone cave in Idaho, Minnetonka Cave offers a variety of stalactites and stalagmites within its walls.’
    • ‘Originally formed by a subterranean stream, then flooded by the sea, it is a rare opportunity to dive in salt water among stalactites and stalagmites.’
    • ‘He collected a stalactite from an underwater cave.’
    • ‘The beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations in the cave are a sight one would seldom get to see in a lifetime.’
    • ‘There were numerous pools of boiling lava, and stalactites and stalagmites joined to form crude natural columns.’
    • ‘She gazed at the stalactites and stalagmites lining the floors and ceiling of the cave.’
    • ‘The caves also contain stalagmites and stalactites which can only be seen in limestone caves.’
    • ‘It is a fairytale world of weirdly shaped hills, as well as spectacular caverns of stalagmites and stalactites in endless shapes and forms.’
    • ‘When a stalactite or stalagmite is deposited it contains a large amount of uranium and no thorium because of differences in the chemical behaviour of these elements.’
    • ‘He was in a cave, stalactites and stalagmites all around him.’
    • ‘A rough circle of stalactites and stalagmites dominated the centre of the cave, looking for all the world like a set of stone, needle-like teeth.’
    • ‘In the caves there are marvellous stalactites and stalagmites, which must place these caves amongst the most beautiful in the world.’


Late 17th century: from modern Latin stalactites, from Greek stalaktos dripping, based on stalassein to drip.