American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A hard black stone, such as jasper or basalt, formerly used to test the quality of gold or silver by comparing the streak left on the stone by one of these metals with that of a standard alloy.
- n. An excellent quality or example that is used to test the excellence or genuineness of others: "the qualities of courage and vision that are the touchstones of leadership” ( Henry A. Kissinger). See Synonyms at standard.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A very fine-grained dark-colored variety of schist or jasper, used for trying the quality of alloys of the precious metals. The alloy is rubbed on the stone, and the color of the streak is compared with that of various alloys of known composition prepared for that purpose and called
touch-needles. It was formerly extensively used for ascertaining the fineness of gold, but the facility and rapidity with which exact assays are now made have rendered the touchstone a matter of much less importance. It was the “Lydian stone” of the ancients, under which name ( Λυδια λίθος) it is mentioned and its nse described by Bacchylidee (about 450 b. c.), while Theophrastus calls it both the Lydian and the Heraclean stone ( λίθος (Ηρακλεία). Βασανίτης, βασανιτης λίθοςand βάσανοςwere names given to it by various Greek authors. It was the coticula of Pliny, whose basanites was a dark-colored, very compact igneous rock, probably a variety of basalt, basaltes and basanites having at a very early period become inextricably confused with each other in meaning. By some these words are believed to have been originally different; by others it is thought that basaltes was a corruption of basanites.
- n. Any test or criterion by which the qualities of a thing are tried: as, money, the touchstone of common honesty.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Min.) Lydian stone; basanite; -- so called because used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak which is left upon the stone when it is rubbed by the metal. See basanite.
- n. Any test or criterion by which the qualities of a thing are tried.
- n. a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated
“Situated alongside the River Thames, the iconic power plant has been featured in works by The Who, Pink Floyd and The Beatles, and now this cultural touchstone is being retrofitted into a self-sufficent community powered by a zero-carbon energy plant.”
“Harry and Sally bicker over Casablanca; for the women of Sleepless in Seattle, the emotional touchstone is An Affair to Remember (“Men never get this movie!”).”
“Its touchstone is the autonomous individual celebrated by John Locke in”
“Like Lincoln's, its touchstone is the common good of the nation, not the sovereign self.”
“The touchstone is this Rolling Stone postmortem of the battle over Caliornia’s Proposition 8, which concludes that the anti-gay amendment could have been defeated, but for a signally inept campaign waged by its opponents.”
“The upcoming Palm Pre, for example, uses something much cooler: a magnetized inductive charging platform called a touchstone, which charges the Pre when it rests on it.”
“A touchstone is a hard, black stone used to test the integrity of gold and silver, and it symbolizes our venture in a way.”
“My touchstone is the Lester Garnier case--more than you want to know about SFPD.”
“And our view here is that, of course, the touchstone is the wish of the patient.”
“I was likewise attracted by the Morpheus in touchstone, which is described by”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘touchstone’.
includes words of the "Prodcom list"
Words only (I left out the expressions) from Geza Kerenyi's EN-HU interpreters' dictionary. Most of them pose some difficulty when interpreted between HU and EN in either or both directions.
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Going through the Magoosh website, words I pulled from the verbal section. 2012.
A list of words unfamiliar to me that I have repeatedly encountered in GRE question sets.
Words that have been smashed together.
mostly from magoosh
Words as I learn them.
A somewhat discriminatory list of words and phrases collected for their euphonic or arcane appeal, interesting etymology, or concise definition of an otherwise unnamed phenomenon or concept.
Looking for tweets for touchstone.