• synonyms


[em-uh-ree, em-ree]
  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


[em-uh-ree, em-ree]
  1. a male or female given name.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for emery

Historical Examples

  • Round this a piece of leather is stretched and dressed with emery.

    The Story of the Invention of Steel Pens

    Henry Bore

  • Whenever you go into a machine shop, look at the emery wheel.

  • He reached them, and it proved to be Emery, the black steward.

  • I wonder if Snyder could have put that emery into the oil-cup himself?

    Cab and Caboose

    Kirk Munroe

  • "Thar's thread and needles in a needle-case, an' an emery," said Christianna.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

British Dictionary definitions for emery


    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 emery


"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