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sapphire

[ saf-ahyuhr ]
/ ˈsæf aɪər /
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noun
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.
adjective
resembling sapphire; deep blue: a sapphire sky.
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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

VOCAB BUILDER

What does sapphire mean?

Sapphire is a transparent gemstone known for its deep-blue variety.

Sapphire belongs to the corundum family of minerals. Sapphires come in a variety of colors (including completely clear), but if a color is not specified, the word sapphire usually refers to the blue kind. This is the most well-known and is classified as a precious gem, meaning that it has a high commercial value. Some varieties of sapphire, like the one known as star sapphire, are considered even more valuable.

Sapphire is popular in jewelry. It is one of the birthstones for the month of September. It is associated with the zodiac sign of Taurus.

Some sapphires are synthetic, meaning they are manufactured, as opposed to being formed naturally. Due to its hardness, synthetic sapphire is used in a variety of practical applications, including as a material to make windows, lasers, and circuits. It is sometimes used as an abrasive, which is a material used for grinding and polishing.

The word sapphire is also sometimes used to refer to a deep-blue color.

Example: If I had the money, I’d buy that deep-blue sapphire ring.

Where does sapphire come from?

The first records of the word sapphire come from around the 1200s. It comes from the Greek sáppheiros, which may have referred to lapis lazuli, lazurite, or sapphire itself. The earlier Semitic form sappīr may come from the Sanskrit śanipuriya, meaning “dear to (the planet) Saturn.”

Sapphire occurs in many igneous rocks and is a variety of the mineral corundum, which is a form of aluminum oxide and is one of the hardest known substances. The red variety of corundum is known as a ruby, another precious gemstone. The blue coloring of sapphire is due to small amounts of iron and titanium.

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

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

How is sapphire used in real life?

Sapphires are among the most popular and well-known gemstones. They’re especially known for their use in jewelry. Because the blue variety is so well-known, the word sapphire is also used to refer to that color.

 

Try using sapphire!

True or False?

Sapphires and rubies are different varieties of the same mineral.

How to use sapphire in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sapphire

sapphire
/ (ˈsæfaɪə) /

noun
  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

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.
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