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[pahy-rahy-teez, puh-, pahy-rahyts] /paɪˈraɪ tiz, pə-, ˈpaɪ raɪts/
noun, plural pyrites. Mineralogy.
any of various other metallic sulfides, as of copper or tin.
Origin of pyrites
1545-55; < Latin pyrītes (plural); see pyrite


[pahy-rahyt] /ˈpaɪ raɪt/
a very common brass-yellow mineral, iron disulfide, FeS 2 , with a metallic luster, burned to sulfur dioxide in the manufacture of sulfuric acid: chemically similar to marcasite, but crystallizing in the isometric system.
Also, pyrites.
Also called iron pyrites.
1560-70; < Latin pyrītēs < Greek pyrī́tēs, noun use of adj.: of fire, so called because it produces sparks when struck. See pyr-, -ite1
Related forms
[pahy-rit-ik, puh-] /paɪˈrɪt ɪk, pə-/ (Show IPA),
pyritical, pyritous
[puh-rahy-tuh s, pahy-] /pəˈraɪ təs, paɪ-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for pyrites


/paɪˈraɪtiːz; in combination ˈpaɪraɪts/
noun (pl) -tes
another name for pyrite
any of a number of other disulphides of metals, esp of copper and tin


a yellow mineral, found in igneous and metamorphic rocks and in veins. It is a source of sulphur and is used in the manufacture of sulphuric acid. Composition: iron sulphide. Formula: FeS2. Crystal structure: cubic Also called iron pyrites, pyrites Nontechnical name fool's gold
Derived Forms
pyritic (paɪˈrɪtɪk), pyritous, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin pyrites flint, from Greek puritēs (lithos) fire (stone), that is, capable of withstanding or striking fire, from pur fire
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for pyrites



"metallic iron disulfide, fool's gold," 1550s, from Old French pyrite (12c.), from Latin pyrites, from Greek pyrites lithos "stone of fire, flint" (so called because it glitters), from pyrites "of or in fire," from pyr (genitive pyros) "fire" (see fire (n.)). Related: Pyritic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pyrites in Science
A silver to yellow, metallic, cubic mineral. Pyrite often crystallizes in cubes or octahedrons but also occurs as shapeless masses of grains. It occurs in most types of rocks, and is used as a source of iron and in making sulfur dioxide. It is a polymorph of marcasite. Because of its shiny look and often yellow color, it is sometimes mistaken for gold and for this reason is also called fool's gold. Chemical formula: FeS2.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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