[ pahy-rahy-teez, puh-, pahy-rahyts ]
/ paɪˈraɪ tiz, pə-, ˈpaɪ raɪts /

noun, plural py·ri·tes. Mineralogy.

any of various other metallic sulfides, as of copper or tin.

Origin of pyrites

1545–55; < Latin pyrītes (plural); see pyrite

Definition for pyrites (2 of 2)

[ pahy-rahyt ]
/ ˈpaɪ raɪt /


a very common brass-yellow mineral, iron disulfide, FeS2, with a metallic luster, burned to sulfur dioxide in the manufacture of sulfuric acid: chemically similar to marcasite, but crystallizing in the isometric system.
Also pyrites.

Origin of pyrite

1560–70; < Latin pyrītēs < Greek pyrī́tēs, noun use of adj.: of fire, so called because it produces sparks when struck. See pyr-, -ite1
Also called iron pyrites.


py·rit·ic [pahy-rit-ik, puh-] /paɪˈrɪt ɪk, pə-/, py·rit·i·cal, py·ri·tous [puh-rahy-tuh s, pahy-] /pəˈraɪ təs, paɪ-/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for pyrites

British Dictionary definitions for pyrites (1 of 2)

/ (paɪˈraɪtiːz, in combination ˈpaɪraɪts ) /

noun plural -tes

another name for pyrite
any of a number of other disulphides of metals, esp of copper and tin

British Dictionary definitions for pyrites (2 of 2)

/ (ˈpaɪraɪt) /


a yellow mineral, found in igneous and metamorphic rocks and in veins. It is a source of sulphur and is used in the manufacture of sulphuric acid. Composition: iron sulphide. Formula: FeS 2 . Crystal structure: cubicAlso called: iron pyrites, pyrites Nontechnical name: fool's gold

Derived forms of pyrite

pyritic (paɪˈrɪtɪk) or pyritous, adjective

Word Origin for pyrite

C16: from Latin pyrites flint, from Greek puritēs (lithos) fire (stone), that is, capable of withstanding or striking fire, from pur fire
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 pyrites

[ pīrīt′ ]

A silver to yellow, metallic, cubic mineral. Pyrite often crystallizes in cubes or octahedrons but also occurs as shapeless masses of grains. It occurs in most types of rocks, and is used as a source of iron and in making sulfur dioxide. It is a polymorph of marcasite. Because of its shiny look and often yellow color, it is sometimes mistaken for gold and for this reason is also called fool's gold. Chemical formula: FeS2.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.