Definition of helictite in US English:



  • A distorted form of stalactite, typically resembling a twig.

    • ‘This has all the usual features one might expect in a cave - hundreds of stalagmites, stalactites and even helictites (strangely twisted stalactites).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After a brief pause to examine the tangled helictites in total amazement we crawled on.’
    • ‘Here the weird crystals and tree helictites provide another view to wonder at on a totally different scale.’
    • ‘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.’


Late 19th century: from Greek heliktos ‘twisted’, on the pattern of stalactite.