[ tur-koiz, -kwoiz ]
/ ˈtɜr kɔɪz, -kwɔɪz /
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Also turquois. an opaque mineral, a basic hydrous copper aluminum phosphate often containing a small amount of iron, sky-blue or greenish-blue in color, cut cabochon as a gem.Compare bone turquoise.
Also called turquoise blue . a greenish blue or bluish green.


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Origin of turquoise

1350–1400; <French: Turkish (stone), equivalent to TurcTurk + -oise, feminine of -ois-ese; replacing Middle English turkeis<Middle French
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does turquoise mean?

Turquoise is an opaque sky-blue or greenish-blue mineral commonly used as a gemstone. It can also be yellowish-green, but it’s best known for its greenish-blue variety.

It’s also sometimes spelled turquois, but this is much less common.

Turquoise is categorized as a semiprecious stone, which is a classification used for stones considered to have a lower value than those deemed precious. Turquoise that is more blue than green is often more valuable.

Turquoise is commonly used in jewelry, though some pieces sold as turquoise may be artificial or only turquoise-colored. Turquoise used in jewelry is often cut in the form of a cabochon, an oval shape that’s polished but not faceted. In the U.S., turquoise jewelry is especially associated with Native American artisans, particularly from tribes primarily based in the Southwest, such as the Hopi and Navajo.

Turquoise is one of the birthstones for the month of December. It is associated with the zodiac signs Sagitarrius and Capricorn.

The word turquoise is also commonly used as the name of a teal or sky-blue color (like the color of the stone).

Example: The Caribbean Sea is known for its turquoise-blue waters.

Where does turquoise come from?

The first records of the word turquoise in English come from the mid-1300s. It comes from a French word meaning “Turkish (stone).”

Turquoise was originally mined and traded from the Sinai Peninsula and the region around what is now Iran. It has been traded since at least the time of Ancient Egypt. Trade routes to Europe often went through Turkey, which is likely the source of its name. It is also found in the Southwest U.S., where it has long been used by Native Americans.

Turquoise is composed of hydrated copper and aluminum phosphate. It occurs in arid areas where there is circulating groundwater—the stone itself is a mineral deposited from these waters. It is typically found in masses with surfaces shaped like a bunch of grapes, especially in aluminum-rich igneous rocks such as trachyte.

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What are some other forms related to turquoise?

  • turquois (alternate spelling)

What are some synonyms for turquoise (the color)?

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

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

How is turquoise used in real life?

The gemstone turquoise is commonly used in jewelry and is especially associated with its use by Native American artisans from tribes such as the Navajo and Hopi. It is often paired with silver. The word turquoise is also commonly used as the name of the color of the stone.


Try using turquoise!

True or False?

Turquoise comes from a word meaning “Turkish.”

How to use turquoise in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for turquoise

/ (ˈtɜːkwɔɪz, -kwɑːz) /

a greenish-blue fine-grained secondary mineral consisting of hydrated copper aluminium phosphate. It occurs in igneous rocks rich in aluminium and is used as a gemstone. Formula: CuAl 6 (PO 4) 4 (OH) 8 .4H 2 O
  1. the colour of turquoise
  2. (as adjective)a turquoise dress

Word Origin for turquoise

C14: from Old French turqueise Turkish (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

Scientific definitions for turquoise

[ tûrkwoiz′, -koiz′ ]

A blue to bluish-green or yellowish-green triclinic mineral that occurs in reniform (kidney-shaped) masses with surfaces shaped like a bunch of grapes, especially in aluminum-rich igneous rocks such as trachyte. In its polished blue form it is prized as a gem. Chemical formula: CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·5H2O
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.