• synonyms


[ol-uh-veen, ol-uh-veen]
  1. Mineralogy. any of a group of magnesium iron silicates, (Mg,Fe)2SiO4, occurring in olive-green to gray-green masses as an important constituent of basic igneous rocks.
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Origin of olivine

1785–95; < German Olivin, equivalent to Olive olive + -in -ine2
Also called chrysolite.
Related formsol·i·vin·ic [ol-uh-vin-ik] /ˌɒl əˈvɪn ɪk/, ol·i·vin·it·ic [ol-uh-vi-nit-ik] /ˌɒl ə vɪˈnɪt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for olivine

Historical Examples of olivine

  • Their essential constituents are olivine and purplish augite.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 16, Slice 2


  • Below this is a more compact basalt, with crystals of olivine.

  • Olivine is often present; and when abundant the rock is called "olivine-basalt."

  • Section of olivine crystal from the lava of 1631—imperfectly formed.

  • Both are common alteration products of magnesian silicate minerals such as olivine, pyroxene, and amphibole.

British Dictionary definitions for olivine


  1. an olive-green mineral of the olivine group, found in igneous and metamorphic rocks. The clear-green variety (peridot) is used as a gemstone. Composition: magnesium iron silicate. Formula: (MgFe) 2 SiO 4 . Crystal structure: orthorhombicAlso called: chrysolite
  2. any mineral in the group having the general formula (Mg,Fe,Mn,Ca) 2 SiO 4
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Word Origin for olivine

C18: from German, named after its colour
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

olivine in Science


  1. An olive-green to brownish-green orthorhombic mineral. Olivine is a common mineral in the igneous rocks, such as basalt and gabbro, that make up most of the Earth's crust beneath the oceans. Chemical formula: (Mg,Fe)2SiO4. ♦ Olivine in which the mafic component consists entirely of magnesium is called forsterite. Chemical formula: Mg2SiO4.♦ Olivine in which the mafic component consists entirely of iron is called fayalite. Chemical formula: Fe2SiO4.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.