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[min-er-uh l, min-ruh l] /ˈmɪn ər əl, ˈmɪn rəl/
any of a class of substances occurring in nature, usually comprising inorganic substances, as quartz or feldspar, of definite chemical composition and usually of definite crystal structure, but sometimes also including rocks formed by these substances as well as certain natural products of organic origin, as asphalt or coal.
a substance obtained by mining, as ore.
(loosely) any substance that is neither animal nor vegetable.
minerals, British. mineral water.
Nutrition. any of the inorganic elements, as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, or sodium, that are essential to the functioning of the human body and are obtained from foods.
of the nature of a mineral; pertaining to a mineral or minerals.
containing or impregnated with a mineral or minerals.
neither animal nor vegetable; inorganic:
mineral matter.
Origin of mineral
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Middle French, Old French mineral < Medieval Latin minerāle (noun), minerālis (adj.), equivalent to miner(a) mine, ore (< Old French miniere < Vulgar Latin *mināria; min- (see mine2) + Latin -āria -ary) + -āle, -ālis -al1
Related forms
nonmineral, noun, adjective
semimineral, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for minerals
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Be careful that you don't become like the minerals you work among.'

    A Woman Intervenes Robert Barr
  • The minerals at contact are quartz, biotite, magnetite and hornblende.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • In minerals it would seem as though the list of products was unequaled.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • It has minerals such as iron, lead, copper and sulphur in the earth.

  • Vitamins and minerals and hard radiations and things, and then he's going to bed.

    Masters of Space Edward Elmer Smith
British Dictionary definitions for minerals


/ˈmɪnərəl; ˈmɪnrəl/
any of a class of naturally occurring solid inorganic substances with a characteristic crystalline form and a homogeneous chemical composition
any inorganic matter
any substance obtained by mining, esp a metal ore
(often pl) (Brit) short for mineral water
(Brit) a soft drink containing carbonated water and flavourings Usual US word soda
of, relating to, containing, or resembling minerals
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin minerāle (n), from minerālis (adj); related to minera mine, ore, of uncertain origin
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 minerals



late 14c., "substance obtained by mining," from Medieval Latin minerale "something mined," noun use of neuter of mineralis "pertaining to mines," from minera "mine." Meaning "material substance that is neither animal nor vegetable" is first recorded c.1600. Modern scientific sense is from 1813.



early 15c., "neither animal nor vegetable," from Old French mineral and directly from Medieval Latin mineralis (see mineral (n.)). Mineral water (early 15c.) originally was water found in nature with some mineral substance dissolved in it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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minerals in Medicine

mineral min·er·al (mĭn'ər-əl)

  1. A naturally occurring, homogeneous inorganic solid substance having a definite chemical composition and characteristic crystalline structure, color, and hardness.

  2. An inorganic element, such as calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, or zinc, that is essential to the nutrition of humans, animals, and plants.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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minerals in Science
  1. A naturally occurring, solid, inorganic element or compound having a uniform composition and a regularly repeating internal structure. Minerals typically have a characteristic hardness and color, or range of colors, by which they can be recognized. Rocks are made up of minerals.

  2. A natural substance of commercial value, such as iron ore, coal, or petroleum, that is obtained by mining, quarrying, or drilling.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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minerals in Culture

minerals definition

In the diet, certain substances necessary for the maintenance of life and good health. Some are essential components of bodily substances, such as the calcium in bones and the iron in hemoglobin, whereas others help regulate the activities of metabolism. (See under “Earth Sciences.”)

mineral definition

In geology, a naturally occurring inorganic substance (see inorganic molecules) with a definite chemical composition and a regular internal structure.

Note: Most minerals are crystals, like salt and diamonds.
Note: Rocks are aggregates of minerals.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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