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See more synonyms for placer on Thesaurus.com
noun Mining.
  1. a surficial mineral deposit formed by the concentration of small particles of heavy minerals, as gold, rutile, or platinum, in gravel or small sands.
  2. the site of a form of mining (placer mining) in which a placer deposit is washed to separate the gold or other valuable minerals.
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Origin of placer1

1835–45, Americanism; < American Spanish; Spanish: sandbank < Catalan placel, derivative of plaza open place; see plaza


  1. a person who sets things in their place or arranges them.
  2. a person or animal that is among the winners of a race or other contest.
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Origin of placer2

First recorded in 1570–80; place + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for placer

Historical Examples

  • Then they carried him down to Placer Creek, and worked over him a lot more.

    Blazed Trail Stories

    Stewart Edward White

  • Ye'll hev to get rid of them ther fixin's if yer goin' in for placer diggin'!

  • The gold had been dug out of a placer only thirty miles away.

  • There was a sudden surge forward of the Jellies and Placer was engulfed.

    Rebels of the Red Planet

    Charles Louis Fontenay

  • "You've been very gentle in your methods of conversion," said Placer.

    Rebels of the Red Planet

    Charles Louis Fontenay

British Dictionary definitions for placer


    1. surface sediment containing particles of gold or some other valuable mineral
    2. (in combination)placer-mining
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Word Origin

C19: from American Spanish: deposit, from Spanish plaza place
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

placer in Science


  1. A surface deposit of minerals, such as gold or magnetite, laid down by a river. The minerals are usually concentrated in one area because they are relatively heavy and therefore settle out of the river's currents more quickly than lighter sediments such as silt and sand.♦ The extraction of minerals from placers, as by panning, washing, or dredging, is called placer mining.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.