Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A gem or seal, cut in steatite.
  • noun Soapstone: an impure massive variety of talc. Also called potstone.

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

  • noun (Min.) A massive variety of talc, of a grayish green or brown color. It forms extensive beds, and is quarried for fireplaces and for coarse utensils. Called also potstone, lard stone, and soapstone.

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

  • noun mineralogy soapstone

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

  • noun a soft heavy compact variety of talc having a soapy feel; used to make hearths and tabletops and ornaments

Etymologies

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

[Latin steatītis, a precious stone, from Greek, from stear, steat-, tallow; see stāi- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • Solid forms of talc are known as steatite or soapstone.

    Chapter 9

  • Sand is commonly met with at the depth of three or four fathoms, and beneath this a stratum of napal or steatite, which is considered as a sign that the metal is near; but the least fallible mark is a red stone, called batu kawi, lying in detached pieces.

    The History of Sumatra Containing An Account Of The Government, Laws, Customs And Manners Of The Native Inhabitants

  • The rivers, plains, and nearby mountains offered abundant wild animals, fish, and timber, and raw materials such as steatite (talc) and copper.

    Birth of a Civilization

  • Visitors may recognize other hallmark Minoan artifacts in the show: clay tablets inscribed with the still-undeciphered Linear A writing, a bull's head rhyton carved from chlorite with gilded horns, and the "Chieftain's Cup," a carved steatite conical cup with processional scene (see photo gallery).

    Minoans in Manhattan

  • And here, yielding to an irresistible impulse, I wrote my name upon the nose of a steatite monster from

    The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells

  • The bowl was of soft stone, apparently steatite, which, when fresh, is easily fashioned with a knife.

    Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah

  • Also of Egyptian manufacture is the beautiful glazed steatite scarab inscribed with a knot design typical of the late Middle Kingdom (mid to late Dynasty 13) unearthed on the very first day of the 2001 excavations.

    Interactive Dig Hierakonpolis - Nubians at Hierakonpolis

  • Nearby excavations have also yielded some noteworthy finds: a terra-cotta house model probably used as a bird cage and a two-by-two-inch steatite Harappan Phase seal carved with a unicorn motif and 13 script signs.

    Early Indus Script

  • Alabaster bowls, more than a dozen steatite vessels, and fragments of ostrich eggshell containers were also found.

    Arabian Hoard

  • In addition to a Bronze Age steatite seal, schist reliefs, and stucco heads, this donation included four fragments of a large Bronze Age silver bowl combining Indian and Mesopotamian stylistic characteristics in depicting a frieze of bulls.

    Museum Under Siege: Full Text

Comments

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  • "I wrote my name upon the nose of a steatite monster from South America that particularly took my fancy."

    - Wells, The Time Machine

    June 5, 2008