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[sfal-uh-rahyt, sfey-luh-] /ˈsfæl əˌraɪt, ˈsfeɪ lə-/
a very common mineral, zinc sulfide, ZnS, usually containing some iron and a little cadmium, occurring in yellow, brown, or black crystals or cleavable masses with resinous luster: the principal ore of zinc and cadmium; blackjack.
Origin of sphalerite
1865-70; < Greek sphaler(ós) slippery, deceptive + -ite1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sphalerite
Historical Examples
  • The most important mineral of zinc is the sulphide, sphalerite or "zinc blende."

  • In the Missouri region, on the other hand, sphalerite and blende are the typical ores.

    The A B C of Mining Charles A. Bramble
  • sphalerite is a fairly common and widespread mineral, occurring nearly always in veins in most kinds of rocks.

    Geology William J. Miller
British Dictionary definitions for sphalerite


/ˈsfæləˌraɪt; ˈsfeɪlə-/
a yellow to brownish-black mineral consisting of zinc sulphide in cubic crystalline form with varying amounts of iron, manganese, cadmium, gallium, and indium: the chief source of zinc. Formula: ZnS Also called zinc blende
Word Origin
C19: from Greek sphaleros deceitful, from sphallein to cause to stumble
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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sphalerite in Science
A usually yellow-brown or brownish-black cubic mineral occurring either as single dodecahedral crystals or as granular masses. It often contains cadmium, arsenic, or manganese and has a distinct rotten egg odor. It is often found in association with the mineral galena and is the primary ore of zinc. Chemical formula: ZnS.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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