American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A cone-shaped, fossilized internal shell of any of an extinct genus of cephalopods related to the cuttlefish.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A straight, solid, tapering, dart-shaped fossil, the internal bone or shell of a molluscous animal of the extinct family Belemnitidæ, common in the Chalk and Jurassic limestone. Belemnites are popularly known as arrow-heads or finger-stones, from their shape; also as
thunderboltsand thunder-stones, from a belief as to their origin. See Belemnitidæ.
- n. The animal to which such a bone belonged.
- n. Also called ceraunite.
- n. paleontology An extinct group of Mesozoic marine cephalopod, very similar in many ways to the modern squid and closely related to the modern cuttlefish.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Paleon.) A conical calcareous fossil, tapering to a point at the lower extremity, with a conical cavity at the other end, where it is ordinarily broken; but when perfect it contains a small chambered cone, called the phragmocone, prolonged, on one side, into a delicate concave blade; the thunderstone. It is the internal shell of a cephalopod related to the sepia, and belonging to an extinct family. The belemnites are found in rocks of the Jurassic and Cretaceous ages.
- n. a conical calcareous fossil tapering to a point at one end and with a conical cavity at the other end containing (when unbroken) a small chambered phragmocone from the shell of any of numerous extinct cephalopods of the family Belemnitidae
- New Latin belemnītēs, from Greek belemnon, dart; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I need hardly translate the word belemnite 'for the benefit of the ladies,' as people used to do in the dark and unemancipated eighteenth century; but as our boys have left off learning Greek just as their sisters are beginning to act the 'Antigone' at private theatricals, I may perhaps be pardoned if I explain, 'for the benefit of the gentlemen,' that the word is practically equivalent to javelin-fossil.”
“Shakespeare's country their connection with thunder is well known, so that in all probability a belemnite is the original of the beautiful lines in 'Cymbeline': --”
“Stomach contents of a metriorhynchid were described by Dave Martill (1986) and included cephalopod hooklets, a belemnite guard and some long bones that Dave identified as those of the pterosaur Rhamphorhynchus.”
“I'd almost got the loveliest, biggest belemnite, and it broke into three pieces like a slate pencil.”
“They rejoiced with Miss Lever, however, when she secured a fairly intact belemnite.”
“The day of the ammonite and the belemnite also now drew to a close, and only a few of these cephalopods were left to survive the period.”
“Another and very different form of thunderbolt is the belemnite, a common English fossil often preserved in houses in the west country with the same superstitious reverence as the neolithic hatchets.”
“Yet it will be a thousand years more, in all probability, before the last thunderbolt ceases to be shown as a curiosity here and there to marvelling visitors, and takes its proper place in some village museum as a belemnite, a meteoric stone, or a polished axe-head of our neolithic ancestors.”
“The very form of the belemnite at once suggests the notion of a dart or lance-head, which has gained for it its scientific name.”
“Indeed, I have had two thunderbolts shown me at once, one of which was a large belemnite, and the other a modern Indian tomahawk.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘belemnite’.
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