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[plas-er] /ˈplæs ər/
noun, Mining.
a surficial mineral deposit formed by the concentration of small particles of heavy minerals, as gold, rutile, or platinum, in gravel or small sands.
the site of a form of mining (placer mining) in which a placer deposit is washed to separate the gold or other valuable minerals.
Origin of placer1
1835-45, Americanism; < American Spanish; Spanish: sandbank < Catalan placel, derivative of plaza open place; see plaza


[pley-ser] /ˈpleɪ sər/
a person who sets things in their place or arranges them.
a person or animal that is among the winners of a race or other contest.
First recorded in 1570-80; place + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for placer
Historical Examples
  • Then they carried him down to placer Creek, and worked over him a lot more.

    Blazed Trail Stories Stewart Edward White
  • The gold had been dug out of a placer only thirty miles away.

  • Ye'll hev to get rid of them ther fixin's if yer goin' in for placer diggin'!

  • "You've been very gentle in your methods of conversion," said placer.

    Rebels of the Red Planet Charles Louis Fontenay
  • "They're a lot more tractable than that woman of yours," said placer.

    Rebels of the Red Planet Charles Louis Fontenay
  • There was a sudden surge forward of the Jellies and placer was engulfed.

    Rebels of the Red Planet Charles Louis Fontenay
  • "We haven't been notified to expect any government visitors," said placer.

    Rebels of the Red Planet Charles Louis Fontenay
  • The larger operations of this kind are called "placer" and "dredge" mining.

    Checking the Waste Mary Huston Gregory
  • In the first case it is obtained in crude form by placer mining.

  • There he proposed to me to join him, and go back to the placer.

    Wood Rangers Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for placer


  1. surface sediment containing particles of gold or some other valuable mineral
  2. (in combination): placer-mining
Word Origin
C19: from American Spanish: deposit, from Spanish plazaplace
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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placer in Science
A surface deposit of minerals, such as gold or magnetite, laid down by a river. The minerals are usually concentrated in one area because they are relatively heavy and therefore settle out of the river's currents more quickly than lighter sediments such as silt and sand. ◇ The extraction of minerals from placers, as by panning, washing, or dredging, is called placer mining.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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