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Borrowed from French monolithe, from Latin monolithus (consisting of a single stone), from Ancient Greek μονόλιθος (monólithos), from μόνος (mónos, single, alone) + λίθος (líthos, stone); synchronically, mono- +‎ -lith.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈmɒ.nə.lɪθ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈmɑ.nə.lɪθ/
  • (file)


monolith (plural monoliths)

  1. A large single block of stone, used in architecture and sculpture.
    • 2012 January 1, Henry Petroski, “The Washington Monument”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 1, page 16:
      The Washington Monument is often described as an obelisk, and sometimes even as a “true obelisk,” even though it is not. A true obelisk is a monolith, a pylon formed out of a single piece of stone.
  2. Anything massive, uniform and unmovable, especially a towering social, political, or cultural structure.
    • 14 November 2018, Jesse Hassenger, AV Club Disney goes viral with an ambitious, overstuffed Wreck-It Ralph sequel[2]
      Intentionally or not, the movie makes Disney feel as enormous as the internet itself, containing a series of micro-targeted idiosyncrasies and in-jokes that are nonetheless controlled by a cultural monolith (whether that’s Disney or whatever massive corporation owns your local ISP).
    • 1996, Femi Ojo-Ade, Being Black, Being Human: More Essays on Black Culture (page 157)
      For whatever reason, one knows that the Senegalese poet-president became the Father of the ideology, cleverly weaving a network of cultural contributions and atavistic, essential, and behavioral components into a kind of black monolith hardly acceptable to anyone.
  3. (chemistry, chromatography) A continuous stationary-phase cast as a homogeneous column in a single piece.

Derived terms[edit]


  • (anything massive, uniform and unmovable): chimera


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.