• synonyms


[kahr-neel-yuh n]
  1. a red or reddish variety of chalcedony, used in jewelry.
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Also cornelian.

Origin of carnelian

1685–95; variant (with a of carnation) of cornelian, Middle English cornel(ine) (< Middle French, probably equivalent to Old French cornele cornel cherry + -ine -ine1) + -ian
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for carnelian

Historical Examples of carnelian

  • Round the bones of the arm were carnelian beads of short barrel shape.

    El Kab

    J.E. Quibell

  • Carnelian is a red variety of chalcedony, sard a brown variety.

  • It is of alabaster, inlaid with agate, carnelian, and jasper.

  • Our favorite resorts, and it is so with all tourists, were Emerald and Carnelian Bays.

  • No sandstones of the East glow with such a splendor of carnelian hue.

British Dictionary definitions for carnelian


  1. a red or reddish-yellow translucent variety of chalcedony, used as a gemstone
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Word Origin for carnelian

C17: variant of cornelian, from Old French corneline, of uncertain origin; car- spelling influenced by Latin carneus flesh-coloured
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

Word Origin and History for carnelian


"red variety of chalcedony," variant of cornelian, altered by influence of Latin carnem "flesh" because of its color.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper