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[jem] /dʒɛm/
a cut and polished precious stone or pearl fine enough for use in jewelry.
something likened to or prized as such a stone because of its beauty or worth:
His painting was the gem of the collection.
a person held in great esteem or affection.
muffin (def 1).
British Printing. a 4-point type of a size between brilliant and diamond.
verb (used with object), gemmed, gemming.
to adorn with or as with gems; begem.
Jewelry. noting perfection or very high quality:
gem color; a gem ruby.
Origin of gem
1275-1325; Middle English gemme < Old French < Latin gemma bud, jewel; replacing Middle English yimme, Old English gim(m) < Latin
Related forms
gemless, adjective
gemlike, adjective
2. treasure, prize, jewel, pearl. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gemlike
Historical Examples
  • He raised his eyes, and a bitter smile appeared on his gemlike lips.


    Stephen French Whitman
  • Here was a land whose common substance had this gemlike opalescence.

    Marriage H. G. Wells
  • Beside her bounded the great cat with shining, gemlike eyes.

    While Caroline Was Growing Josephine Daskam Bacon
  • The walls were covered with Eastern hangings, tables of lacquer stood about filled with squat bronzes and gemlike ivory carvings.

    By the Light of the Soul Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • Gardens of tulips are radiant, and mountain valleys touch the soul with the beauty of their pure and gemlike hues.

    Renaissance in Italy Vol. 3 John Addington Symonds
  • An ovoid slice of the gemlike material slid aside, revealing a doorway.

    The Metal Monster A. Merritt
  • What reconciles me to it æsthetically is the gemlike transparency of its colouring.

  • They were out on the gemlike lake now, and Priscilla was sternly instructing Margaret how to handle an oar.

    The Place Beyond the Winds Harriet T. Comstock
  • She did not precisely burn with that hard, gemlike flame which Mr. Pater recommended.

    Post-Impressions Simeon Strunsky
  • It looks cold until the rocks warm it with their gemlike tints, like a bride's jewels gleaming through her veil.

British Dictionary definitions for gemlike


a precious or semiprecious stone used in jewellery as a decoration; jewel
a person or thing held to be a perfect example; treasure
a size of printer's type, approximately equal to 4 point
(NZ) a type of small sweet cake
verb gems, gemming, gemmed
(transitive) to set or ornament with gems
Derived Forms
gemlike, adjective
gemmy, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French gemme, from Latin gemma bud, precious stone
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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Word Origin and History for gemlike



Old English gimm "precious stone, gem, jewel," also "eye," from Latin gemma "precious stone, jewel," originally "bud," perhaps from the root *gen- "to produce," or from PIE *gembh- "tooth, nail." Of persons, from late 13c. Forms in -i-, -y- were lost early 14c., and the modern form of the word probably representing a Middle English borrowing from Old French gemme (12c.). As a verb, from c.1600, "to adorn with gems;" mid-12c. as "to bud."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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