Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A naturally occurring magnet.
  • n. The mineral magnetite.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as loadstone.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

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

Etymologies

Middle English lode, way; see lode + stone (from its use by sailors to show the way).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested from 1515, from Middle English lode ("guide") + stone. From use as a guide tool by mariners. See also: lodestar. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The name lodestone comes from the old English meaning "way stone" because a sliver of iron rubbed with lodestone also becomes magnetised, and this is how the first compass needles were made.

    Weatherwatch: How does magnetite become magnetised?

  • Anyhow, some genius found out that a small needle brought in contact with the so-called lodestone, or magnetic ore, absorbs the qualities of the lodestone, and when placed on a pivot will always point to the north.

    Editorials from the Hearst Newspapers

  • Create a social media "lodestone" within each of your marketing efforts.

    Advertising Age - Homepage

  • HOLC is too complicated to explain, and doesn't speak directly to the liquidity problem to make it some kind of lodestone for fighting the Paulson / Bush bill, which essentially gets around the unconstitutionality issue by pressuring congress to give up their constitutional mandate by handing it over, no questions asked, to the executive.

    Corrente

  • While snow has been the standard for purity since before Shakespeare, in the 15th century you would have been as right as an adamant, a lodestone that always pointed to North.

    Weatherwatch: right as rain

  • There is of course more than just a visual resemblance at work here: Chateaubriand has within him an ideological lodestone perpetually inclining him toward the sacred grandeur of the East.

    G. Roger Denson: The Beauty We Fear: The Great Mosques of European Novelists and Poets (Slideshow)

  • Called the Countess of Westmorland's lodestone, it is a huge natural magnet.

    Welcome to the Museum Of Weird and Wonderful

  • As the epicenter of modern jazz, New York City has always been a magical lodestone, irresistibly attracting talented musicians at every stage of their development and careers.

    Ralph A. Miriello: Contemporary Bassist & Composer Ben Allison Plays Carnegie Hall

  • These elves had already bred a magical race of flying reindeer, and they assisted Santa in building his massive military-industrial complex at the Black Precipice (that is, the great lodestone mountain near the Pole, which causes compass arrows to point north) in order to bring his generosity to the children of the world through the delivery of toys to stockings.

    Archive 2009-12-01

  • In many ways, the current conservative debate is rooted in a seminal essay Jeane Kirkpatrick wrote for Commentary magazine in 1979, which became a lodestone for Ronald Reagan's foreign policy.

    Conservatives Spar Over Best Approach on Egypt

Comments

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  • 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

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

    -- something that strongly attracts

    From O. English

    October 2, 2007