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[saf-ahyuh r] /ˈsæf aɪər/
any gem variety of corundum other than the ruby, especially one of the blue varieties.
a gem of this kind.
the color of this gem, a deep blue.
resembling sapphire; deep blue:
a sapphire sky.
Origin of sapphire
1225-75; < Latin sapphīrus < Greek sáppheiros, probably < Semitic (compare Hebrew sappīr; ulterior origin obscure); replacing Middle English safir < Old French < Latin, as above Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sapphire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If you will force my modesty to the confession I believe in my heart that it is a sapphire.

  • This last was true of them all, with the exception of the mate of the sapphire.

    Tales Of Hearsay Joseph Conrad
  • Of course, Mr. Bunter, the mate of the sapphire, was not black.

    Tales Of Hearsay Joseph Conrad
  • Look out, Johns, he don't cut your throat for you and run off with the sapphire.

    Tales Of Hearsay Joseph Conrad
  • The harbor lay still and beautiful, a sapphire sheet in the morning calm.

    Glory of Youth Temple Bailey
British Dictionary definitions for sapphire


  1. any precious corundum gemstone that is not red, esp the highly valued transparent blue variety. A synthetic form is used in electronics and precision apparatus. Formula: Al2O3
  2. (as modifier): a sapphire ring
  1. the blue colour of sapphire
  2. (as adjective): sapphire eyes
Word Origin
C13 safir, from Old French, from Latin sapphīrus, from Greek sappheiros, perhaps from Hebrew sappīr, ultimately perhaps from Sanskrit śanipriya, literally: beloved of the planet Saturn, from śani Saturn + priya beloved
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 sapphire

"precious stone next in hardness to a diamond," mid-13c., from Old French saphir (12c.) and directly from Latin sapphirus (cf. Spanish zafir, Italian zaffiro), from Greek sappheiros "blue stone" (the gem meant apparently was not the one that now has the name, but perhaps rather "lapis lazuli," the modern sapphire being perhaps signified by Greek hyakinthos), from a Semitic source (cf. Hebrew sappir "sapphire"), but probably not ultimately from Semitic. Some linguists propose an origin in Sanskrit sanipriya, a dark precious stone (perhaps sapphire or emerald), literally "sacred to Saturn," from Sani "Saturn" + priyah "precious." In Renaissance lapidaries, it was said to cure anger and stupidity. As an adjective from early 15c. Related: Sapphiric; sapphirine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sapphire in Science
A clear, fairly pure form of the mineral corundum that is usually blue but may be any color except red. It often contains small amounts of oxides of cobalt, chromium, and titanium and is valued as a gem. Compare ruby.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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