amethyst

noun am·e·thyst \ ˈa-mə-thəst , -(ˌ)thist \
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of amethyst

1 a : a clear purple or bluish-violet variety of crystallized quartz that is often used as a jeweler's stone
b : a deep purple variety of corundum
2 : a moderate purple

amethystine

play \ˌa-mə-ˈthis-tən\ adjective

Recent Examples of amethyst from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amethyst.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Gems were once believed to have magical qualities. An amethyst, for example, was supposed to have the power to prevent or cure drunkenness in its wearer. For this reason the Greeks gave it the name amethystos, which comes from the prefix a-, meaning “not,” and methyein “to be drunk.”

Origin and Etymology of amethyst

Middle English amatiste, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin amethystus, from Greek amethystos, literally, remedy against drunkenness, from a- + methyein to be drunk, from methy wine — more at mead


AMETHYST Defined for English Language Learners

amethyst

noun

Definition of amethyst for English Language Learners

  • : a clear purple or bluish-purple stone that is used as a gem

  • : a medium purple color


AMETHYST Defined for Kids

amethyst

noun am·e·thyst \ ˈa-mə-thəst \

Definition of amethyst for Students

: a clear purple or bluish violet quartz used as a gem

History for amethyst

People once believed that amethysts could cure drunkenness. The ancient Greeks gave the stone a name that reflected this belief. The Greek name was formed from a prefix that meant “not” and a verb that meant “to be drunk.” This verb came from a Greek word that meant “wine.” The English word amethyst came from the Greek name for the stone.


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