KANJI: SEKI SHAKU KOKU ishi (stone, rock)

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Character Etymology:

A slightly modified radical for cliff surrouding a boulder. Usually explained as a boulder having rolled down a cliff, but it is more likely a boulder hewn from a cliff-face.

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

kun-yomi: ishi

Nanori Readings:

Nanori: isa isu iwa shi sekku to

English Definitions:

  1. SEKI, SHAKU, ishi: stone, pebble, rock; jewel; to go play stones.
  2. koku: 4.96 [bushels; 10 cubic feet (of lumber).

Character Index Numbers:

New Nelson: 3985
Henshall: 45

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

化石 (kaseki): fossil.
(koishi): pebble.
石油 (sekiyu): petroleum.

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Stone is also a term that has come into use to describe how serious someone is in a particular interest, orientation, or group. To be a "Stone ______" is to be a fanatic, a serious practitioner, and someone who could be a poster child for whatever the rubric one could use to describe said person. The term carries the implication of permanence, of solidity and unwavering passion, someone literally "cut out" for their position, interest, or orientation.

It is a very flexible word, and can be used in many ways. For example, stone cold is pretty damn cold (as is stone dead), and a stone butch is about as far from a female as you can get and still have a vagina. Someone stone deaf can't appreciate music without a hearing aid, and stone free is what Jimmy Hendrix sang about.

This is of course related to the many other terms using stone. Things can be written or carved into stone (in a literal or figurative sense), a stony expression is certainly unkind, and to be stoned is either a very good or a very bad thing to have happen to you.

The stone is an Imperial measure of weight, or possibly mass - the main one used in the United Kingdom for weighing human beings. 'Stone' is its own plural in this context, and one stone is equal to fourteen pounds. A pound, in turn, is sixteen ounces, where an ounce is the weight of a fat mouse, around 28 grams. For example, I might say that I weigh a little over twelve stone, but if I were to explain this to someone from the USA I would say I weigh 168 pounds or so (written 168lb), or I would say 72kg in pretty much the whole of the rest of the world, which has long since opted to use a system of measurement which make some kind of sense.

Going the other way, a stone is inexplicably one eighth of a British (or 'long') hundredweight, i.e. 112lb, which is a twentieth of a ton (2240lb). Maybe it was considered bad luck for any two units to be in the same ratio as any other two units. In North America, a hundredweight actually is a hundred pounds, while a ton is still twenty hundredweights, so a British ton is 12% heavier than a ton from the other side of the Atlantic. A metric tonne is just slightly lighter than a British ton, at around 2205lb.

For a long time the stone, along with the likes of pounds and ounces, resisted any kind of standardisation. Eventually some degree of order was introduced by the avoirdupois system, which literally means 'to have some peas', but should mean 'goods of weight'. Unfortunately the stone was omitted from this convention, and the British then shoehorned it in, presumably for sentimental reasons. In the process we ruined the sense of the hundredweight, and made sure the ton was different on each side of the Atlantic. Sorry about that.

While it is quite obviously mad to use any measure which is equal to fourteen times sixteen times some other measure which is itself utterly arbitrary, there is still a case to be made for the stone as a scale for thinking about a person's weight. Its imprecision is its chief virtue - there is something to be said for people thinking of fractions of a stone as the minimum amount worth worrying about, rather than fretting over a pound here or a kilogram there, which nobody would even notice if they didn't have a set of scales to rely on. That said, imprecision is almost certainly its only virtue, so I expect Britain to keep on slowly, slowly marching towards the metrication which has been official policy for decades.

Stone (?), n. [OE. ston, stan, AS. stan; akin to OS. & OFries. stan, D. steen, G. stein, Icel. steinn, Sw. sten, Dan. steen, Goth. stains, Russ. stiena a wall, Gr. , , a pebble. 167. Cf. Steen.]


Concreted earthy or mineral matter; also, any particular mass of such matter; as, a house built of stone; the boy threw a stone; pebbles are rounded stones.

"Dumb as a stone."


They had brick for stone, and slime . . . for mortar. Gen. xi. 3.

In popular language, very large masses of stone are called rocks; small masses are called stones; and the finer kinds, gravel, or sand, or grains of sand. Stone is much and widely used in the construction of buildings of all kinds, for walls, fences, piers, abutments, arches, monuments, sculpture, and the like.


A precious stone; a gem.

"Many a rich stone." Chaucer. "Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels." Shak.


Something made of stone. Specifically: -


The glass of a mirror; a mirror.


Lend me a looking-glass; If that her breath will mist or stain the stone, Why, then she lives. Shak.


A monument to the dead; a gravestone.


Should some relenting eye Glance on the where our cold relics lie. Pope.

4. Med.

A calculous concretion, especially one in the kidneys or bladder; the disease arising from a calculus.


One of the testes; a testicle.


6. Bot.

The hard endocarp of drupes; as, the stone of a cherry or peach. See Illust. of Endocarp.


A weight which legally is fourteen pounds, but in practice varies with the article weighed.


The stone of butchers' meat or fish is reckoned at 8 lbs.; of cheese, 16 lbs.; of hemp, 32 lbs.; of glass, 5 lbs.


Fig.: Symbol of hardness and insensibility; torpidness; insensibility; as, a heart of stone.

I have not yet forgot myself to stone. Pope.

9. Print.

A stand or table with a smooth, flat top of stone, commonly marble, on which to arrange the pages of a book, newspaper, etc., before printing; -- called also imposing stone.

Stone is used adjectively or in composition with other words to denote made of stone, containing a stone or stones, employed on stone, or, more generally, of or pertaining to stone or stones; as, stone fruit, or stone-fruit; stone-hammer, or stone hammer; stone falcon, or stone-falcon. Compounded with some adjectives it denotes a degree of the quality expressed by the adjective equal to that possessed by a stone; as, stone-dead, stone-blind, stone-cold, stone-still, etc.

Atlantic stone, ivory. [Obs.] "Citron tables, or Atlantic stone." Milton. -- Bowing stone. Same as Cromlech. Encyc. Brit. -- Meteoric stones, stones which fall from the atmosphere, as after the explosion of a meteor. -- Philosopher's stone. See under Philosopher. -- Rocking stone. See Rocking-stone. -- Stone age, a supposed prehistoric age of the world when stone and bone were habitually used as the materials for weapons and tools; -- called also flint age. The bronze age succeeded to this. -- Stone bass Zool., any one of several species of marine food fishes of the genus Serranus and allied genera, as Serranus Couchii, and Polyprion cernium of Europe; -- called also sea perch. -- Stone biter Zool., the wolf fish. -- Stone boiling, a method of boiling water or milk by dropping hot stones into it, -- in use among savages. Tylor. -- Stone borer Zool., any animal that bores stones; especially, one of certain bivalve mollusks which burrow in limestone. See Lithodomus, and Saxicava. -- Stone bramble Bot., a European trailing species of bramble (Rubus saxatilis). -- Stone-break. [Cf. G. steinbrech.] Bot. Any plant of the genus Saxifraga; saxifrage. -- Stone bruise, a sore spot on the bottom of the foot, from a bruise by a stone. -- Stone canal. Zool. Same as Sand canal, under Sand. -- Stone cat Zool., any one of several species of small fresh-water North American catfishes of the genus Noturus. They have sharp pectoral spines with which they inflict painful wounds. -- Stone coal, hard coal; mineral coal; anthracite coal. -- Stone coral Zool., any hard calcareous coral. -- Stone crab. Zool. (a) A large crab (Menippe mercenaria) found on the southern coast of the United States and much used as food. (b) A European spider crab (Lithodes maia). Stone crawfish Zool., a European crawfish (Astacus torrentium), by many writers considered only a variety of the common species (A. fluviatilis). -- Stone curlew. Zool. (a) A large plover found in Europe (Edicnemus crepitans). It frequents stony places. Called also thick-kneed plover or bustard, and thick-knee. (b) The whimbrel. [Prov. Eng.] (c) The willet. [Local, U.S.] -- Stone crush. Same as Stone bruise, above. -- Stone eater. Zool. Same as Stone borer, above. -- Stone falcon Zool., the merlin. -- Stone fern Bot., a European fern (Asplenium Ceterach) which grows on rocks and walls. -- Stone fly Zool., any one of many species of pseudoneuropterous insects of the genus Perla and allied genera; a perlid. They are often used by anglers for bait. The larvae are aquatic. -- Stone fruit Bot., any fruit with a stony endocarp; a drupe, as a peach, plum, or cherry. -- Stone grig Zool., the mud lamprey, or pride. -- Stone hammer, a hammer formed with a face at one end, and a thick, blunt edge, parallel with the handle, at the other, -- used for breaking stone. -- Stone hawk Zool., the merlin; -- so called from its habit of sitting on bare stones. -- Stone jar, a jar made of stoneware. -- Stone lily Paleon., a fossil crinoid. -- Stone lugger. Zool. See Stone roller, below. -- Stone marten Zool., a European marten (Mustela foina) allied to the pine marten, but having a white throat; -- called also beech marten. -- Stone mason, a mason who works or builds in stone. -- Stone-mortar Mil., a kind of large mortar formerly used in sieges for throwing a mass of small stones short distances. -- Stone oil, rock oil, petroleum. -- Stone parsley Bot., an umbelliferous plant (Seseli Labanotis). See under Parsley. -- Stone pine. Bot. A nut pine. See the Note under Pine, and Pinon. -- Stone pit, a quarry where stones are dug. -- Stone pitch, hard, inspissated pitch. -- Stone plover. Zool. (a) The European stone curlew. (b) Any one of several species of Asiatic plovers of the genus Esacus; as, the large stone plover (E. recurvirostris). (c) The gray or black-bellied plover. [Prov. Eng.] (d) The ringed plover. (e) The bar-tailed godwit. [Prov. Eng.] Also applied to other species of limicoline birds. -- Stone roller. Zool. (a) An American fresh-water fish (Catostomus nigricans) of the Sucker family. Its color is yellowish olive, often with dark blotches. Called also stone lugger, stone toter, hog sucker, hog mullet. (b) A common American cyprinoid fish (Campostoma anomalum); -- called also stone lugger. -- Stone's cast, or Stone's throw, the distance to which a stone may be thrown by the hand. -- Stone snipe Zool., the greater yellowlegs, or tattler. [Local, U.S.] -- Stone toter. Zool. (a) See Stone roller (a), above. (b) A cyprinoid fish (Exoglossum maxillingua) found in the rivers from Virginia to New York. It has a three-lobed lower lip; -- called also cutlips. -- To leave no stone unturned, to do everything that can be done; to use all practicable means to effect an object.


© Webster 1913.

Stone (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Stoned (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Stoning.] [From Stone, n.: cf. AS. stnan, Goth. stainjan.]


To pelt, beat, or kill with stones.

And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Acts vii. 59.


To make like stone; to harden.

O perjured woman! thou dost stone my heart. Shak.


To free from stones; also, to remove the seeds of; as, to stone a field; to stone cherries; to stone raisins.


To wall or face with stones; to line or fortify with stones; as, to stone a well; to stone a cellar.


To rub, scour, or sharpen with a stone.

<-- get stoned, be stoned? -->


© Webster 1913.

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