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emery

[em-uh-ree, em-ree]
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noun
  1. a granular mineral substance consisting typically of corundum mixed with magnetite or hematite, used powdered, crushed, or consolidated for grinding and polishing.
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Origin of emery

1475–85; < Middle French emeri, Old French esmeril < Vulgar Latin *smēriculum, equivalent to Medieval Greek smêri (for Greek smýris rubbing powder; akin to smear) + Latin -culum -cule2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for emeries

emery

noun
    1. a hard greyish-black mineral consisting of corundum with either magnetite or haematite: used as an abrasive and polishing agent, esp as a coating on paper, cloth, etc. Formula: Al 2 O 3
    2. (as modifier)emery paper
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Word Origin

C15: from Old French esmeril, ultimately from Greek smuris powder for rubbing
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 emeries

emery

n.

"granular mixture used as an abrasive," late 15c., from Middle French émeri, from Old French esmeril, from Italian smeriglo, from Vulgar Latin *smyrilium, from Greek smyris "abrasive powder" used for rubbing and polishing, probably a non-Greek word, perhaps from a Semitic source.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper