Definition of monolithic in US English:



  • 1Formed of a single large block of stone.

    • ‘Here the caged stone is simply a uniform external layer, but its monolithic appearance will be eventually transformed by vegetation implanted within it.’
    • ‘The ephemeral nature of Emmanuel's installation, which acts as a memorial, made a striking contrast with the 1970s monolithic Monument.’
    • ‘The war memorial, an exquisite monolithic stone pillar, was erected at this place in memory of the soldiers from the erstwhile Mysore state who laid down their lives in the war.’
    • ‘This 1980-81 piece is his last monolithic sculpture and his last to be of a single material.’
    • ‘This section was conceived as having been carved out of a single monolithic block.’
    • ‘This is an ancient place where the flat landscape is broken by huge monolithic mountainous outcrops that silently remind you that this is how it's been for countless millennia.’
    • ‘Without warning the monolithic stone outcropping blew into a thousand fragments of flying rock.’
    • ‘Carved to represent Mt. Kailasa, the home of the god Shiva in the Himalayas, it is the largest monolithic structure in the world, carved top-down from a single rock.’
    • ‘Had the obelisk been successfully completed, it would be the single heaviest piece of monolithic stonework reaching about 42 m and weighing over 1168 tonnes.’
    1. 1.1 (of a building) very large and characterless.
      • ‘For years the Dundee skyline was dominated by the monolithic tower blocks of the Ardler housing estate.’
      • ‘Enormous monolithic buildings, windowless and scaleless, were separated by vast boulevards.’
      • ‘It was still dark outside, though thin tendrils of light were warming the horizon, shining an eerie glow on the monolithic buildings to the south.’
      • ‘It's a gargantuan, tightly-squeezed settlement of 16-lane roads, subway stations with 12 exits and looming, monolithic tower apartment blocks.’
      • ‘On thing which particularly fascinates me is how the large and monolithic buildings and other structures of the industrial age can be regenerated to form a part of modern cities.’
      • ‘According to Novak, the building's final design will have the sleek, monolithic look of a tall office tower.’
      • ‘We linger in the city's few remaining open spaces, desolate and serene as large monolithic apartment blocks overlook the fertile land like greedy developers.’
      • ‘It seemed appropriate that he should be promoting the brash, monolithic towers that were once disliked but eventually grew on the locals.’
      • ‘The design for the site has sought to avoid presenting to the river the hard edge of a single monolithic structure behind a fence.’
      • ‘At the end of the path was a doorway, which led into one of the monolithic buildings.’
      • ‘Yes, my parents did own a reasonably large home, nothing monolithic, but a shelter of fair fortune none the less.’
      • ‘The vanguard is there already in the monolithic casino that dominates the harbour area, where the ferries from Hong Kong disgorge their passengers.’
      • ‘However, such monolithic, single-structure buildings are a symbol of the inefficient central bureaucracies of the past.’
      • ‘It has also prevented historic palaces, forts, pavilions and gardens from being demolished and replaced with monolithic, monothematic facilities.’
      • ‘Industrial buildings tend to be large, monolithic, brown, bulky, and not subtle.’
      • ‘The new galleries and studios are not Old-World museums which can be described as architectural wonders, or as monolithic buildings that have a story behind them.’
      • ‘It should be ugly, vast and monolithic, crude after the bewitching vagaries of the old town, but instead is a streamlined example of aesthetic integration, beautiful in its own right.’
      • ‘The black, monolithic tower block, which is largely empty, is to be overhauled and the multi-storey car park demolished under current proposals.’
      • ‘The west side of the building is nearly monolithic, appearing impregnable, with ribbon windows and a sheer precipice of craggy stone.’
      • ‘By the end of the 1800s and early 1900s, those small factories gave birth to the monolithic glass and steel mills that lined the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers.’
      massive, huge, vast, colossal, gigantic, immense, giant, enormous, mammoth, monumental
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  • 2(of an organization or system) large, powerful, and intractably indivisible and uniform.

    ‘rejecting any move toward a monolithic European superstate’
    • ‘With the movement against a monolithic world-economic system, people can once again see the enemy more clearly.’
    • ‘The military's hardly a monolithic organization, and you can always find someone in the service who didn't like one of his brothers in arms.’
    • ‘The French army was not a monolithic organization.’
    • ‘This study breaks down this monolithic characterization of the administrative apparatus by moving officials from all levels to the forefront.’
    • ‘His commenters show the typically depressing blogger mindset of treating us journalists like a monolithic social block that all behave the same way.’
    • ‘Workfare regimes are not monolithic systems, but dynamic configurations of restless reform, technocratic emulation, and tangled scalar relations.’
    • ‘It is no longer the monolithic system based on large capital investment exemplified at its best by Hollywood in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.’
    • ‘Perhaps it makes the most sense to think of them as local blocs or local communities, but not as a nationally cohesive group that can be characterized as a monolithic voting bloc.’
    • ‘From the U.S. perspective, the concept of government-funded media has an air of propaganda and monolithic ideology.’
    • ‘The culture of the police - the values, norms, perspectives, and craft rules that inform their conduct - is neither monolithic, universal nor unchanging.’
    • ‘The problem is that a society like autocratic 19th century St. Petersburg - like our monolithic and faceless corporate culture - doesn't work like that.’
    • ‘The phrase suggests a monolithic entity with a single purpose.’
    • ‘It would, however, be a mistake to view all these characteristics of manliness and masculinity as monolithic and static.’
    • ‘A market, not being a monolithic institution, does not have a single set of goals against which one can compare its performance.’
    • ‘The different authors of the biographies seek to show that even within the tight confines of the monolithic party the individual loyal Communists proved to be different from one another in many ways.’
    • ‘We have a monolithic economy with very little vigour.’
    • ‘If the government is considered monolithic, journalists can report its activities, in simply comprehended and coherent terms, as an adversary out of touch with popular sentiments.’
    • ‘The media system is not monolithic - dissident material does appear, comparatively honest documentaries are seen.’
    • ‘Epstein believes reporters err too often by viewing the operations of government as monolithic instead of the ‘product of diverse and competing’ interests.’
    • ‘Mainstream scientists dare not disagree with the monolithic block that is Darwinian orthodoxy.’
    inflexible, rigid, unbending, unchanging, intractable, immovable, impenetrable, fossilized, hidebound
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  • 3Electronics
    (of a solid-state circuit) composed of active and passive components formed in a single chip.

    • ‘The two approaches currently used for optical-component integration - hybrid and monolithic - both display distinct limitations.’
    • ‘The motion is sensed by an accelerometer disposed within the device that is formed of a monolithic integrated circuit chip.’
    • ‘Its application to electronics collected a number of well-known technologies to produce useful monolithic circuits.’
    • ‘The monolithic processors in the desktop field will have a single diode.’
    • ‘His invention of the monolithic integrated circuit, the microchip, some 45 years ago laid the conceptual and technical foundation for the entire field of modern micro-electronics.’