[ em-er-uhld, em-ruhld ]
/ ˈɛm ər əld, ˈɛm rəld /
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a rare variety of beryl that is colored green by chromium and valued as a gem.
Printing. (in Britain) a 6½-point type of a size between nonpareil and minion.
Ornithology. any of numerous small bright green hummingbirds of the genus Chlorostilbon.
having a clear, deep-green color.
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Origin of emerald

1250–1300; Middle English emeraude, emeralde<Anglo-French, Old French esmeraude, esmeralde, esmeragde<Latin smaragdus<Greek smáragdos; probably ultimately <Semitic b-r-q shine (≫ Sanskrit marāk(a)la emerald)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does emerald mean?

An emerald is a rare, transparent, deep-green gemstone.

Emeralds are a rare green variety of the mineral beryl. They are classified as precious gems, meaning that they have a high commercial value. Emeralds can be very expensive. The value of emeralds is often based on how dark they are, with darker ones being priced higher.

The emerald is the traditional birthstone for the month of May. It’s associated with the zodiac signs Taurus and Cancer.

The word emerald can also be used to refer to a deep color of green, sometimes called emerald green, or to describe things that are this color.

Example: My grandmother gave me this emerald ring to remember where our family immigrated came from—Ireland, the “Emerald Isle.”

Where does emerald come from?

The first records of the word emerald come from the 1200s. It comes from the Old French esmeralde, from the Greek smáragdos, meaning “green gem.” It may ultimately derive from a Semetic word meaning “shine.”

Most emeralds are formed in metamorphic rock. The stone gets its signature green color from small amounts of the element chromium. Emeralds can be found in many locations throughout the world, but main sources include Colombia and Brazil.

The term emerald cut refers to a way of cutting precious stones, not just emeralds. It consists of a rectangular or square shape and cropped corners.

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How is emerald used in real life?

Emeralds are one of the most well-known precious gems. They have been used as a signifier of wealth for thousands of years.


Try using emerald!

True or False?

Emeralds are quite rare.

How to use emerald in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for emerald

/ (ˈɛmərəld, ˈɛmrəld) /

a green transparent variety of beryl: highly valued as a gem
  1. the clear green colour of an emerald
  2. (as adjective)an emerald carpet
(formerly) a size of printer's type approximately equal to 6 1/2 point
short for emerald moth

Word Origin for emerald

C13: from Old French esmeraude, from Latin smaragdus, from Greek smaragdos; related to Sanskrit marakata emerald
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

Scientific definitions for emerald

[ ĕmər-əld ]

A transparent, green form of the mineral beryl. It is valued as a gem.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.