1. <chemical>

A massive, somewhat impure variety of quartz, in colour usually of a gray to brown or nearly black, breaking with a conchoidal fracture and sharp edge. It is very hard, and strikes fire with steel.

2. A piece of flint for striking fire; formerly much used, especially. In the hammers of gun locks.

3. Anything extremely hard, unimpressible, and unyielding, like flint. "A heart of flint." Flint age.

An obsolete appliance for lighting the miner at his work, in which flints on a revolving wheel were made to produce a shower of sparks, which gave light, but did not inflame the fire damp. Flint stone, a hard, siliceous stone; a flint. Flint wall, a kind of wall, common in England, on the face of which are exposed the black surfaces of broken flints set in the mortar, with quions of masonry. Liquor of flints, a solution of silica, or flints, in potash. To skin a flint, to be capable of, or guilty of, any expedient or any meanness for making money.

Origin: AS. Flint, akin to Sw. Flinta, Dan. Flint; cf. OHG. Flins flint, G. Flinte gun (cf. E. Flintlock), perh. Akin to Gr. Brick. Cf. Plinth.

(01 Mar 1998)

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