[mass noun] The mineral talc occurring in consolidated form, especially as soapstone.
- ‘In addition to the mosaic icons, this gallery held a small number of works of steatite and precious stone that were used for private devotions or for personal adornment.’
- ‘Potters at Bristol used steatite or soapstone - the ingredient that gives Worcester porcelain durability and enables it to hold hot liquids without cracking.’
- ‘In Scandinavia many bowls and cooking vessels have been found carved from soapstone, or steatite, a mineral that is very heat tolerant.’
- ‘Miniature mosaic icons, images in metal, ivory, and steatite, at different scales and levels of skill all survive.’
- ‘Research is continuing, but it poses the question, do we have here a unique glazed stone item, reminiscent of the glazed steatite of 5th millennium Mesopotamia?’
Mid 18th century: via Latin from Greek steatītēs, from stear, steat- tallow.