Friday, November 13, 2009

Rock, Stone or Pebble?

What would you call the rocks in the above photo? Rocks? Stones? Pebbles?
over the past 25 years, my husband and I have had many, many arguments. He is from the North and I am from the South (USA). that means we call things bydifferent names. One of the on-going arguments is what is a stone and what is a rock?When I step on a small rock, I yelp, he says, What? I say I stepped on a rock. He says, that is not a rock, it is a stone.

I say there are little rocks and middlesized rocks and big rocks and if it is as big as a car or house, it is a boulder. He says small rocks are stones and sometimes pebbles, and and the bigger ones are rocks, like in a rock quarry.


  • Stone- a naturally occurring aggregate of minerals

  • Rock-naturally occurring solid aggregte of minerals

  • Pebble-generally considered to be larger than granules and smaller than cobbles.

Say What!!!!

a mineral matter of variable composition, consolidated or unconsolidated, assembled in masses or quantities.

Since none of this made sense to me I resorted to

  • a large mass of stone forming a hill or cliff

  • stone in mass, buildings that stand on stone

  • a rock is a stone of any size, a small piece of rock is a pebble (UK thoughts)

Comment from a site, just a portion of it:
An engineer once corrected a friend when he said he liked rock houses. He said it is a stone house. While the rock is sitting undisturbed on the ground, it is a rock, once you pick it up, it is a stone

I am waiting for comments from all of you, rock or stone?

this is neither Rock nor Stone nor Pebble, but shell cave. I found it in my rocks and stone folder and since I like it, here it is. let me know what you think a rock or stone of pebble is.



Madeline said...

I will tell you right up front. I have no clue! The pictures are great. Good blog.

Sunny said...

This is just my opinion, nothing scientific.
Those are rocks in your first picture. Stones are smaller, and I think of stones as being smoother. Pebbles are smaller than stones. Boulders are bigger than rocks. They all hurt if you drop them on your foot!
I love the shell cave, it looks like a face.
Have a great day.
Sunny :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Sandra, Thanks for mentioning my blog today... I LOVE yours. How interesting... There are so many words which mean the same thing... A rock is a stone and a stone is a rock!!!! How's that???? ha ha

I seldom use the word STONE.. I use ROCK... Small rocks, middle-sized rocks and large rocks. Small rocks could be pebbles --although when I think of pebbles, I think of VERY VERY small rocks. Big rocks can be boulders.

When I think of stone, I usually think of something like s stone house--made out of concrete or something like that. Like I said, I seldom use the word STONE at all.

GREAT post, Sandra...

Sandra said...

ok, so now I know i am RIGHT, what Betsy said is exactly my thoughts and my husband does not agree.

Ginny said...

I was looking up "stone" for a blog post not long ago, and using different Bible translations. And I seem to remember that one verse could say stone in one translation, and rock in another! So it depended on weather you were reading the NASV, NAS,etc. So this has been of interest to me. You have come upon some good theories. I love the one about hands touching it make it a stone. So that's what I'll believe from now on. Because look at David & Goliath. And Sculptures are always stone, never rock! So I think you're on to something there.I had always kind of thought that a stone was a big rock, but that has no basis in fact, probably. I love your picture of the rock with the little indentation in it that has a teensy pool of water in it. Is that natural?

MedaM said...

Hi Sandra, this post is fantastic and very interesting to me just because English isn't my native language what I am sure you already noticed. That is why I enjoyed so much reading your post and the comments of other bloggers. That is helped me to better understand the difference between rock or stone or clif (pebble is a new word that I've just learned). This was a great lesson for me and I am really thankful to you for that.:-)) I aslmost forgot to say that your photos are beautiful; I like them all.

Ginny said...

My husband said something funny when I asked him this. He said "Well, stones are English and rocks are American". I thought he was referring to how they weihghed people in stones indtead of pounds. But when I asked him why stones were English, he said "Well, The Rolling Stones are there. Stones are just an English thing." So I suppose that if the Rolling Stones lived in America, they would be The Rolling Rocks!!!

SquirrelQueen said...

I just read Ginny last comment, that is too funny.

I would say a house or a wall would be made out of 'stone', but if I walk down to the river I might pick up a rock. The little rocks on the rivers edge might be pebbles. If there is a really big rock in the river I might call it a boulder or just a big 'rock'. OK, now my brain hurts!!!

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures.... The shell cave looks like a creature ... has 2 eyes and a large mouth.... what is it really?

Less is More said...

Hi good day ! nice post you have . It's very nice , I have plan to setting up my garden can you give me an idea or steps on how to make it beautiful. i have heard some garden accessories such as garden spinners , wind chimes , wind spinners and many more . I want to try this things in my garden but i don't know how to get the right accessories . I hope you can help me . thank you .

Zahirul Nukman said...

Hi ! thanks for your sharing. :) For the first, i also get confused. but after i read this, it's explain what i want (Difference between Rock, Stone and Pebble). :D

Peace from Malaysia ! ^^

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Oh my goodness I see what you mean, thanks for sending me the link! I still love Pebbles. :)

Wordfreak! said...

Hi, just to jump in on the discussion. If you do a little study on the etymology of the words, you will find that STONE is the first term used in Old English, and it pretty much covered everything.

ROCK came later on, and was used in Middle English to mean "rock formations" as opposed to individual stones.

Pebble is also from Middle English (13 century) and it means a small, smooth stone.

---Fox said...

I agree that a pebble is specifically a small rock (or stone) worn smooth by water or wind or sand erosion.

In my Upper Midwest USA usage, rock and stone can be interchangeable, but I tend to think of constructions as made of stone and formations are of rock. Boulders are large, heavy rocks or stones. Hiking, I can get a stone in my shoe but I might pick up interesting rocks to look at along the way. A stone can be painful (or shaped) but a rock piques my interest.