[sem-ee-presh-uh s, sem-ahy-]

Origin of semiprecious

First recorded in 1885–90; semi- + precious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for semiprecious

Historical Examples of semiprecious

  • They're beautiful, as you see, but they're not particularly valuable; only semiprecious.

    Average Jones

    Samuel Hopkins Adams

  • The bulk of this semiprecious metal goes to Navarro & Platt.

  • Upon this last they set the equally brilliant helmet, adorned with semiprecious stones.

    Life on a Mediaeval Barony

    William Stearns Davis

  • A precious gemstone has beauty, durability, and rarity, whereas a semiprecious gemstone has only one or two of these qualities.

  • Stones and ores, some semiprecious, have come from all parts of the world to be patterned into this bright-colored shrine.

British Dictionary definitions for semiprecious


  1. (of certain stones) having commercial value, but less than a precious stone
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

Word Origin and History for semiprecious

also semi-precious, 1818, from semi- + precious (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper