Definition of stony in English:



  • 1Covered with or full of small pieces of rock.

    ‘rough stony paths’
    • ‘You can picture the rugged terrain of rocky beaches and stony slopes with ancient smouldering volcanoes standing guard over antique vines.’
    • ‘He took to the stony path, not minding where he put his feet.’
    • ‘It has full-size trees, sand banks leading down to a stony beach, and water cascading down a rock outcrop.’
    • ‘She walks carefully along a little stony path, which winds its way between the unkempt bushes.’
    • ‘If you hike down the steep, stony path on the opposite side, you come to a small, swimming-pool-size basin of water, covered in a green carpet of duckweed.’
    • ‘We set out on foot from the car park, the falls being a good 10-minute walk away, on a stony path that goes up and down.’
    • ‘The path on the south side of the river is very stony and uneven and the jolting began to tell.’
    • ‘Descend back to the bottom of the stony path and head right, along the depression and start the descent to a large basin.’
    • ‘Despite the best efforts of the excavators, the area was still very stony and most of the paths were pretty bumpy.’
    • ‘Rocky and stony soils are usually well drained, but at the same time not too fertile.’
    • ‘Once past the houses, the enclosing walls open up and there are wonderful views along Troutbeck Park from the rough, stony track.’
    • ‘The route had been stony, uneven ground for most of the way and despite our cardiovascular fitness being fine, the cumulative effect of running over a jagged surface was taking its toll.’
    • ‘We walked when we could - the ground was rough and stony, with scrub growing in any available crevice.’
    • ‘The surface varies from a stony path to a rutted lane to a broad carpet of grass, all of it passable on a touring bike with the exception of 100 yards or so towards the end.’
    • ‘The back garden is an attractive feature of this house, with a small stony path leading to a large covered bench at the back, with protection from the winds - a perfect spot to sit.’
    • ‘The machine can operate in rough and stony ground inaccessible to conventional cutters.’
    • ‘And off they went again, up the stony, twisting path, bending over beneath their loads and a natural inclination to avoid the rain as much as possible.’
    • ‘He frowned, and started to retrace his steps up a stony path leading away.’
    • ‘Weathered igneous and metamorphic rocks generally result in stony, well-drained, and relatively unfertile soils.’
    • ‘We avoided the first obstacle, a gully-bound stream that breaches the cliffs to run down to a stony beach, by following the path inland.’
    rocky, rock-strewn, pebbly, gravelly, shingly, gritty
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    1. 1.1Made of or resembling stone.
      ‘stony steps’
      • ‘Closer and closer the stony peaks came, the distance short enough for me to make out small boulders on the surface.’
      • ‘Everyone heard the quick pace of feet down stony steps.’
      • ‘You almost feel as if you're walking those cold stony streets with him, breathing the scent of smoke and coffee, hearing the rhythms of the city.’
      • ‘I hefted my pick over my shoulder and brought it down hard on the stony wall.’
      • ‘A rainbow was shining in the sunlight above a distant waterfall at a sparkling mountain river with a stony arch of a bridge.’
      • ‘The inside of the station was like the outside: cold and gray and stony.’
      • ‘To pass the time, he stared at the stony bluffs surrounding the path.’
      • ‘The young male dragon emerged fully from the dilapidated nest, his tiny claws softly tapping the stony cave floor as he took his first step.’
      • ‘His blades drop with a clang on the stony steps, blood drips from his hands.’
      • ‘Conan followed them up the stony steps, back up to the light, the heat, and the noise.’
      • ‘He stepped inside the stony tunnel quickly, waiting a moment to make sure the entrance closed completely.’
      • ‘With a low growl of irritation, Simon continued to dash after his cousin, gliding along the cold, stony pavement like a blur of auburn, tan, and gray.’
      • ‘Set upon stony foundations, the house was to be wooden; considered a temporary structure in Turkey, it was exempt from planning consent.’
    2. 1.2Not having or showing feeling or sympathy.
      ‘Lorenzo's hard, stony eyes’
      • ‘I smile while ordering, but her face stays stony, reminding me of a rock.’
      • ‘The film has been dubbed into English so badly that it is frequently difficult to tell who is meant to be talking, and the humour is so juvenile that even children sat in stony silence during the screening I attended.’
      • ‘Adam nodded his acquiescence and stood to begin clearing the table in stony silence.’
      • ‘Some maintained a stony silence while others thought the question was ludicrous.’
      • ‘His face was the same stony mask it had been.’
      • ‘An uncomfortable silence followed, filled with stony glares shared between me and Natasha.’
      • ‘He stood in the doorway, a stony expression covering his face.’
      • ‘Members of the clemency board listen mostly in stony silence and decline even to deliberate before their vote.’
      • ‘Nick looked at Carolyn impassively, his face stony from lack of emotion.’
      • ‘Jared looks over at me, and raises his eyebrows at my stony glare.’
      • ‘He turned to the others and was met by two identical stony glares.’
      • ‘Jessica's stony expression softens and she stares at the ground for a moment.’
      • ‘Rose's face turns hard and stony at the mention of Joelle.’
      • ‘Although it occurred some two or three weeks ago, the local police have maintained a stony silence with respect to the theft.’
      • ‘His stony expression did not discriminate; each student was subjected to its harsh gaze.’
      • ‘For a moment both of them looked at me with stony and unimpressed looks on their faces, and my heart sank.’
      • ‘But I was going through a reclusive and non-communicative phase, and his efforts to talk to me, to establish genuine communication, were met with a stony and moody silence.’
      • ‘The doctor expected a shrug, stony silence or some sort of sarcastic hiss.’
      unfriendly, cold, chilly, frosty, icy, frigid
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    3. 1.3Astronomy (of a meteorite) consisting mostly of rock, as opposed to metal.
      • ‘Even strong iron meteorites, not just weaker stony meteorites, are affected.’
      • ‘If the impact object was a stony carbonaceous chondrite there would be silicates all over the impact site.’
      • ‘Chondrites are stony meteorites that contain small, melted beads known as chondrules and finer-grained material known as matrix.’
      • ‘Chondrites are the main type of stony meteorite, constituting 84 percent of all witnessed meteorite falls.’
      • ‘On the basis of their composition, meteorites are classified into three main groups: stony, stony-iron, and iron.’


  • fall on stony ground

    • (of words or a suggestion) be ignored or badly received.

      • ‘A suggestion of trying Gandhi's method falls on stony ground.’
      • ‘Like all mail shots some probably fell on stony ground, whereas others may have attracted a little interest.’
      • ‘A parachute centre's plans to extend the number of days it operates fell on stony ground when the application came before the town council.’
      • ‘Demands to review the project fell on stony ground - if it was to be completed on schedule, no delay could be considered.’
      • ‘He also proposed the word ‘archaeography’, but that one fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘The prime minister's offer will fall on stony ground, however.’
      • ‘The book actually began in Malaysia, during a four hour taxi ride, when the author's mind conjured up a scene which he knew was just too good to let fall on stony ground.’
      • ‘If even a handful of anthropologists were naive and unwitting collaborators of colonialism, and there is not much evidence of it here, their efforts fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘The parish council at Barlby padlocked the £20,000 park after its appeals to the youngsters fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘The idea of Franco-British union fell on stony ground.’


Old English stānig (see stone, -y).