View synonyms for onyx


[ on-iks ]


  1. Mineralogy. a variety of chalcedony having straight parallel bands of alternating colors. Compare Mexican onyx.
  2. (not used technically) an unbanded chalcedony dyed for ornamental purposes.
  3. black, especially a pure or jet black:

    The pelt of this animal can range from onyx to light brown, depending on the season.

  4. Medicine/Medical. a nail of a finger or toe.


  1. made of or set with banded chalcedony:

    He wore the onyx cufflinks she had given him for his birthday.

  2. black, especially jet black:

    She was a vision in black, from her onyx hair to her shiny boots.


/ ˈɒnɪks /


  1. a variety of chalcedony with alternating black and white parallel bands, used as a gemstone. Formula: SiO 2
  2. a compact variety of calcite used as an ornamental stone; onyx marble. Formula: CaCO 3


/ ŏnĭks /

  1. A type of chalcedony that occurs in straight and parallel bands of different colors, often black and white.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of onyx1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English onix, from Latin onyx, from Greek ónyx “nail, claw, veined gem”; nail ( def ), unguis ( def )

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Word History and Origins

Origin of onyx1

C13: from Latin from Greek: fingernail (so called from its veined appearance)

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Example Sentences

With age, the lungs’ lymph nodes — which filter foreign substances and contain immune cells — became loaded with particulate matter, turning them a deep onyx, the research team found.

By contrast this cup is made of gold, onyx, precious stones, and the stone agate.

On the pink cotton inside lay a clasp of black onyx, on which was inlaid a curious symbol or letter in gold.

The 1952 onyx & diamond panther bracelet sold for $7,036,874, the highest ever paid for a bracelet or any Cartier at auction.

At the Men of ONYX booth, I decided to give the Butt Plug Toss a whirl.

The body had fallen at the base of one of the great onyx columns, near the side wall of the lobby.

The seal was a heavy, square onyx, with a foul anchor engraved on one side.

A close inspection would also separate them into several varieties—as onyx, agate, dotted agate, &c.

The columns and pillars of onyx and bronze held up a magnificent ceiling, broken by the circular stained glass of the skylight.

One of the most beautiful stalagmitic rocks is the so-called onyx marble of Algeria.


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More About Onyx

What does onyx mean?

Onyx is a gemstone that’s especially known for its opaque, all-black variety.

Other varieties are black with with different-colored layers, including white.

Onyx is commonly used in jewelry. Historically, onyx was popular as a material for cameos—engraved gems. Sometimes, it is dyed or artificially colored.

Onyx is one of the birthstones for the month of July. It is associated with the zodiac sign Leo.

The word onyx is also used to refer to a very deep black color (jet-black) or describe things that are that color.

Example: In this ring, the sparkling diamonds are a perfect contrast to the jet-black onyx in the center.

Where does onyx come from?

The first records of the word onyx come from the 1200s. It comes from the Greek ónyx, meaning “nail,” “claw,” or “veined gem.”

Onyx is a variety of the mineral chalcedony, a kind of quartz. The gemstone known as sardonyx is another variety of chalcedony that’s reddish-brown with white layers.

The all-black variety of onyx is sometimes confused with the volcanic glass obsidian. It is also sometimes incorrectly referred to as Mexican onyx or onyx marble.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for onyx?

What are some words that share a root or word element with onyx

What are some words that often get used in discussing onyx?

How is onyx used in real life?

Onyx is common in jewelry. It’s best known for its all-black variety.

Try using onyx!

True or False?

Onyx is always jet-black.




on your lifeonyxis