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[ap-uh-tahyt] /ˈæp əˌtaɪt/
a common mineral, calcium fluorophosphate, Ca 5 FP 3 O 12 , occurring in individual crystals and in masses and varying in color, formerly used in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers.
Origin of apatite
1795-1805; < Greek apát(ē) trickery, fraud, deceit + -ite1
Can be confused
apatite, appetite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for apatite


a pale green to purple mineral, found in igneous rocks and metamorphosed limestones. It is used in the manufacture of phosphorus, phosphates, and fertilizers. Composition: calcium fluorophosphate or calcium chlorophosphate. General formula: Ca5(PO4,CO3)3(F,OH,Cl). Crystal structure: hexagonal
Word Origin
C19: from German Apatit, from Greek apatē deceit; from its misleading similarity to other minerals
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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apatite in Science
Any of several, usually green, transparent, hexagonal minerals consisting of calcium phosphate with either fluorine, hydroxyl, chlorine or carbonate. Apatite occurs in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, and is used as a source of phosphate for making fertilizers. Chemical formula: Ca5(PO4CO3)3(F,OH,Cl).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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