[ pawr-fuh-ree ]
/ ˈpɔr fə ri /

noun, plural por·phy·ries.

a very hard rock, anciently quarried in Egypt, having a dark, purplish-red groundmass containing small crystals of feldspar.
Petrology. any igneous rock containing coarse crystals, as phenocrysts, in a finer-grained groundmass.



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Origin of porphyry

1350–1400; Middle English porfurie, porfirie < Medieval Latin porphyreum, alteration of Latin porphyrītēs < Greek porphyrī́tēs porphyry, short for porphyrī́tēs líthos porphyritic (i.e., purplish) stone, equivalent to pórphyr(os) purple + -ītēs; see -ite1

Definition for porphyry (2 of 2)

[ pawr-fuh-ree ]
/ ˈpɔr fə ri /


Malchus,a.d. c233–c304, Greek philosopher.


Por·phyr·e·an [pawr-feer-ee-uh n] /pɔrˈfɪər i ən/, adjectivePor·phyr·i·an, adjective, nounPor·phyr·i·an·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for porphyry

British Dictionary definitions for porphyry (1 of 2)

/ (ˈpɔːfɪrɪ) /

noun plural -ries

any igneous rock with large crystals embedded in a finer groundmass of minerals
obsolete a reddish-purple rock consisting of large crystals of feldspar in a finer groundmass of feldspar, hornblende, etc

Word Origin for porphyry

C14 porfurie, from Late Latin porphyrītēs, from Greek porphuritēs (lithos) purple (stone), from porphuros purple

British Dictionary definitions for porphyry (2 of 2)

/ (ˈpɔːfɪrɪ) /


original name Malchus. 232–305 ad, Greek Neo-Platonist philosopher, born in Syria; disciple and biographer of Plotinus
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

Scientific definitions for porphyry

[ pôrfə-rē ]

An igneous rock containing the large crystals known as phenocrysts embedded in a fine-grained matrix.

Other words from porphyry

porphyritic adjective (pôr′fə-rĭtĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.