Difference Between Rocks and Stones

Rocks vs Stones

A rock is the hard material of the earth’s crust. It is normally exposed on the surface of the earth or sometimes underlying the soil. A stone on the other hand is a solid non-metallic mineral matter of which a rock is made. In fact it can be said that stones constitute what is called a rock.

Geologically a rock is defined as any natural material hard or soft consisting of one or more minerals. You would find a mass of rock projecting and forming a hill, rift or cliff. One of the finest of such projections is the Rock of Gibraltar. A stone on the other hand is a small piece whereas a rock is large piece.

One of the main differences between rocks and stones is that rocks can be both soft and hard, whereas stones can only be hard and they cannot be soft for that matter. A stone can be lifted or pelted quite easily whereas a rock cannot be lifted or pelted easily. This is because of the fact that rocks are heavier than the stones. This is understandable since rocks are made up of several stones.

It is interesting to note that in some countries both these words are interchangeable in their usage. You might have observed the usage of the word ‘gem’ in the description of another word, namely, ‘gemstone’. In fact the usage of ‘gemrock’ is unheard of. Rocks are generally immovable whereas stones are moveable from one place to another place. Observe the usage of the word ‘rock’ in expressions like ‘rock-hearted man.’


Rock – the hard material of the earth’s crust

- any natural material hard or soft consisting of one or more minerals

Stone – a small piece of rock

A stone is a small, hard solid, moveable non-metallic mineral matter.

A rock is a large, hard or soft, immovable non-metallic mineral matter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.phelps.560 Carol Phelps

    I don’t agree. Rocks aren’t always large; they can be tiny. For example, one might say, “I have a rock in my shoe”. Often people use the words “rock” and “stone” as synonyms to mean the same thing. The one difference is that the word “rock” implies something that was formed naturally. If people cut rock into pieces and then use that for building or making things, you’d call it stone. For example, you wouldn’t talk about a “rock building” or a “rock bridge”; you’d call it a “stone building” or a “stone bridge”. Jewelry is not made out of “gemrocks”; it is made out of “gemstones”.