spinel

or spi·nelle

[spi-nel, spin-l]
noun
  1. any of a group of minerals composed principally of oxides of magnesium, aluminum, iron, manganese, chromium, etc., characterized by their hardness and octahedral crystals.
  2. a mineral of this group, essentially magnesium aluminate, MgAl2O4, some varieties being used as gems.

Origin of spinel

1520–30; < French spinelle < Italian spinella, equivalent to spin(a) thorn (< Latin spīna) + -ella -elle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for spinel

spinel

noun
  1. any of a group of hard glassy minerals of variable colour consisting of oxides of aluminium, magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc, or manganese and occurring in the form of octahedral crystals: used as gemstones
  2. a hard, glassy mineral composed of magnesium-aluminium oxide found in metamorphosed limestones and many basic and ultrabasic igneous rocks. Formula: MgAl 2 O 4

Word Origin for spinel

C16: from French spinelle, from Italian spinella, diminutive of spina a thorn, from Latin; so called from the shape of the crystals
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

spinel in Science

spinel

  1. A hard, variously colored cubic mineral, having usually octahedral crystals and occurring in igneous and metamorphosed carbonate rocks. The red variety is valued as a gem and is sometimes confused with the ruby. Chemical formula: MgAl2O4.
  2. Any of a group of minerals that are oxides of magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, or aluminum.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.