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stalactite

sta·lac·tite

stalactite

 
pronunciation:
st laek taIt [or] stae lk taIt
features:
Language Note, Word History, Word Explorer, Word Parts
part of speech: noun
definition: a rock formation that looks like an icicle and hangs from the roof of a cave. Stalactites are built up from minerals in dripping water.
derivation: stalactitic (adj.)
Language Note
Stalactites and stalagmites are two kinds of underground rock formations. Stalactites grow downward from the ceiling of a cave, and stalagmites grow upward from the floor of a cave. Here is a way to help you to remember which is which: stalactite -- ceiling, stalagmite -- ground.
Word History
Stalactite comes from stalaktos, an ancient Greek word that means "dripping" or "trickling."
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