[ saf-ahyuhr ]
/ ˈsæf aɪər /
Save This Word!


any gem variety of corundum other than the ruby, especially one of the blue varieties.
a gem of this kind.
the color of this gem, a deep blue.


resembling sapphire; deep blue: a sapphire sky.



Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Meet Grammar Coach

Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing

Meet Grammar Coach

Improve Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of sapphire

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English saphir(e), saph(i)er, from Old French safir(e), saffir, saffer, from Latin sapphīrus, sappīrus, from Greek sáppheiros, perhaps “lapis lazuli, lazurite, sapphire,” probably from Semitic (compare Hebrew sappīr, and probably a loanword in Semitic); sappīr and related Semitic forms perhaps come from Sanskrit śanipuriya “dear to (the planet) Saturn,” equivalent to Śani “(the planet) Saturn” + priyá- “dear”; further origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for sapphire

British Dictionary definitions for sapphire

/ (ˈsæfaɪə) /


  1. any precious corundum gemstone that is not red, esp the highly valued transparent blue variety. A synthetic form is used in electronics and precision apparatus. Formula: Al 2 O 3
  2. (as modifier)a sapphire ring
  1. the blue colour of sapphire
  2. (as adjective)sapphire eyes

Word Origin for sapphire

C13 safir, from Old French, from Latin sapphīrus, from Greek sappheiros, perhaps from Hebrew sappīr, ultimately perhaps from Sanskrit śanipriya, literally: beloved of the planet Saturn, from śani Saturn + priya beloved
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 sapphire

[ săfīr′ ]

A clear, fairly pure form of the mineral corundum that is usually blue but may be any color except red. It often contains small amounts of oxides of cobalt, chromium, and titanium and is valued as a gem. Compare ruby.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.