[ sfal-uh-rahyt, sfey-luh- ]
/ ˈsfæl əˌraɪt, ˈsfeɪ lə- /
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a very common mineral, zinc sulfide, ZnS, usually containing some iron and a little cadmium, occurring in yellow, brown, or black crystals or cleavable masses with resinous luster: the principal ore of zinc and cadmium; blackjack.
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Origin of sphalerite

1865–70; <Greek sphaler(ós) slippery, deceptive + -ite1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use sphalerite in a sentence

  • Sphalerite is a fairly common and widespread mineral, occurring nearly always in veins in most kinds of rocks.

    Geology|William J. Miller
  • This substance occurs as the mineral sphalerite, and is one of the most valued ores of zinc.

  • In the Missouri region, on the other hand, sphalerite and blende are the typical ores.

    The A B C of Mining|Charles A. Bramble
  • The most important mineral of zinc is the sulphide, sphalerite or "zinc blende."

British Dictionary definitions for sphalerite

/ (ˈsfæləˌraɪt, ˈsfeɪlə-) /

a yellow to brownish-black mineral consisting of zinc sulphide in cubic crystalline form with varying amounts of iron, manganese, cadmium, gallium, and indium: the chief source of zinc. Formula: ZnSAlso called: zinc blende

Word Origin for sphalerite

C19: from Greek sphaleros deceitful, from sphallein to cause to stumble
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 sphalerite

[ sfălə-rīt′ ]

A usually yellow-brown or brownish-black cubic mineral occurring either as single dodecahedral crystals or as granular masses. It often contains cadmium, arsenic, or manganese and has a distinct rotten egg odor. It is often found in association with the mineral galena and is the primary ore of zinc. Chemical formula: ZnS.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.