Someone who’s stony shows little emotion or sympathy for other people. As your math teacher hands back last week’s geometry quiz, her stony face won’t seem like a very good sign.

A face with a stony expression is so lacking in feeling that it is “like stone.” The other way to use the adjective stony is to mean “with lots of stones,” like when you talk about a stony blueberry field in Maine or a stony path leading up to a lush garden. Stony comes from the Old English stanig, with its root of stan, “rock or gem.”

Definitions of stony
  1. adjective

    abounding in rocks or stones

    stony ground”
    bouldered, bouldery, rocky

    rough, unsmooth

    having or caused by an irregular surface
  2. adjective

    hard as granite

    granitelike, granitic, rocklike


    resisting weight or pressure
  3. adjective

    showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings

    flint, flinty, granitic, obdurate

    hardhearted, heartless

    lacking in feeling or pity or warmth

Word Family