Definition of megalithic in US English:



  • 1Archaeology
    Relating to or denoting prehistoric monuments made of or containing large stones.

    ‘massive megalithic monuments’
    • ‘The megalithic monuments of Malta have been known since the last century, and they used to be grouped with the other megalithic monuments of Europe, such as the passage graves of the Atlantic seaboard, or Stonehenge and Avebury in Britain.’
    • ‘During the second excavation campaign, we excavated another megalithic monument in the Knocknarea Peninsula: a court tomb at Primrose Grange, some 2km southwest of Carrowmore.’
    • ‘These were found here - as commonly in other megalithic monuments in Ireland and Scotland - a number of stones sculptured with a singular and characteristic design in waving and concentric lines.’
    • ‘The truth of Stonehenge is that three different cultures contributed to this megalithic monument.’
    • ‘On our visit to Callanish on Lewis the remarkable collection of almost 50 megalithic standing stones proves to be quite emotional for one passenger, who claims to understand the astral importance of such structures.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to or denoting prehistoric cultures characterized by the erection of monuments made of large stones.
      ‘the resident Megalithic peoples’
      • ‘The publication is full of interesting information and local legends such as the stories surrounding the Giants Grave, a Megalithic Tomb at Kilnaparson reputed to day back to 5,000 BC.’
      • ‘The Giant's Grave, a Megalithic tomb which up until now has been almost impossible to find, will add to the tourist attractions of the Slieve Bloom.’
      • ‘By late afternoon a short rest was taken on the site of a Megalithic burial ground, referred to by locals as The Giants Graveyard or The Graves.’
      • ‘Derek, based in Westport, is renowned for his gold and silver pieces inspired by the Megalithic period of Ireland's history.’
      • ‘Added to that the routes would destroy an area of natural beauty as well as pass through areas of historical and archaeological interest, particularly a concentration of Neolithic and Megalithic sites.’
  • 2Massive or monolithic.

    ‘megalithic corporations’
    ‘the megalithic prison system’
    • ‘One of Feldman's goals was to create the illusion of immobility in his music, just as painter Mark Rothko (a Feldman favorite) created the same illusion in his megalithic canvases.’
    • ‘Some segments are truly megalithic in proportions and appearance, with boulders exceeding 1.20 m in length or height.’
    • ‘His body lies beneath the vast funerary monument shaped by Jacob Epstein, but not even its megalithic weight can keep the spirit of Oscar Wilde earthbound.’
    • ‘This megalithic log cabin is a frontier masterpiece: a massive spa hotel faithfully designed along the lines of the old frontier lodges.’
    • ‘The walls are megalithic, if not in some cases monumental, in form; they are also consistent in construction technique across the site and synchronous in date.’


Mid 19th century: from mega- ‘large’ + Greek lithos ‘stone’ + -ic.