Sapphire Sap"phire (? or ?; 277), n. [OE. saphir, F. saphir, L. sapphirus, Gr. ?, of Oriental origin; cf. Heb. sapp[=i]r.] 1. (Min.) Native alumina or aluminium sesquioxide, {Al2O3}; corundum; esp., the blue transparent variety of corundum, highly prized as a gem. [1913 Webster]

Of rubies, sapphires, and of pearl['e]s white. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

Note: Sapphire occurs in hexagonal crystals and also in granular and massive forms. The name sapphire is usually restricted to the blue crystals, while the bright red crystals are called Oriental rubies (see under {Ruby}), the amethystine variety Oriental amethyst (see under {Amethyst}), and the dull massive varieties corundum (a name which is also used as a general term to include all varieties). See {Corundum}. [1913 Webster]

2. The color of the gem; bright blue. [1913 Webster]

3. (Zo["o]l.) Any humming bird of the genus {Hylocharis}, native of South America. The throat and breast are usually bright blue. [1913 Webster]

{Star sapphire}, or {Asteriated sapphire} (Min.), a kind of sapphire which exhibits asterism. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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  • sapphire — late 13c., from O.Fr. saphir (12c.), from L. sapphirus (Cf. Sp. zafir, It. zaffiro), from Gk. sappheiros blue stone (the gem meant apparently was not the one that now has the name, but perhaps rather lapis lazuli, the modern sapphire perhaps… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • sapphire — ► NOUN 1) a transparent blue precious stone which is a form of corundum. 2) a bright blue colour. ORIGIN Greek sappheiros, probably denoting lapis lazuli …   English terms dictionary

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  • sapphire — /saf uyeur/, n. 1. any gem variety of corundum other than the ruby, esp. one of the blue varieties. 2. a gem of this kind. 3. the color of this gem, a deep blue. adj. 4. resembling sapphire; deep blue: a sapphire sky. [1225 75; < L sapphirus < Gk …   Universalium

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