from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A piece of magnetite that has magnetic properties and attracts iron or steel.
  • noun One that attracts strongly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A variety of magnetite, or the magnetic oxid of iron, which possesses polarity and has the power of attracting fragments of iron. See magnet.
  • noun A leading-stone for drains.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Min.) Same as loadstone.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A naturally occurring magnet.
  • noun obsolete The mineral magnetite.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a permanent magnet consisting of magnetite that possess polarity and has the power to attract as well as to be attracted magnetically


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English lode, way; see lode + stone (from its use by sailors to show the way).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested from 1515, from Middle English lode ("guide") + stone. From use as a guide tool by mariners. See also: lodestar.



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  • I am going to list the non-geological definition because I love the possibilities.

    -- something that strongly attracts

    From O. English

    October 2, 2007

  • All of my reference works say that this word refers to rock that contains magnetite or that it refers to something that attracts with a magnetic or magnet-like force. Even The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy gives a very dry scientific treatment. I had expected a cultural twist from Hirsch. What interests me is that my intuitive definition (i.e., the way I use the word) is not quite as described. Certainly magnetic attraction is an element, but it is not just any attraction, rather it is more of a directional attraction. In my mind, it is an orienting attraction, like the north pole. You might thing of guiding stars, the end of the rainbow, a road less traveled, or the beat of a different drum. It also refers to guiding values and guiding goals. My lodestone is made up of some combination of my path, my values, my goals, my desires, my needs, my companions on the journey, my teachers, my ......

    Further, Lodestone carries a kind of scientific mysticism, almost an element of magic. Magnets are magical in their actions, having properties not visible in their composition or structure. That is you could have a horseshoe shaped piece of metal that is or is not a magnet. You cannot tell by looking at it. Lodestone looks like many non magnetic rocks. Gold can be seen, magnetism cannot. Only the actions of magnetism are visible We cannot even feel it. Hold a magnet and it is not perceptibly different from another piece of non-magnetized metal. And yet we know it is a force through its apparent effects. In this, magnetism provides a glimpse into a universe which is invisible to our senses, one that is not directly perceivable. Other forces, such as gravity, do exert perceptible force on us. Gravity’s very ubiquity makes it harder to be aware of. Something like lodestone, occurring naturally, must have been one of humanity’s earliest indications that there were forces invisible to the senses. It suggests a range of forces; it leaves open the door that there are as yet forces that we cannot detect and, which, nonetheless, effect us.

    And so lodestone speaks to me of forces which I may not fully comprehend or be able to perceive directly which, nonetheless, shape my life and, most particularly, my life path. Lodestone speaks of Destiny.

    July 11, 2009