am·​e·​thyst ˈa-mə-thəst How to pronounce amethyst (audio)
: a clear purple or bluish-violet variety of crystallized quartz that is often used as a jeweler's stone
: a deep purple variety of corundum
: a moderate purple
amethystine adjective

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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.”

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Some grow to 4-feet tall with massive, amethyst-colored blooms while others can top out no more than 6-inches tall with yellow flowers. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 30 Sep. 2022 From moonstone and amethyst to rose quartz and emerald, the precious and semi-precious stones all have meaning as well, representing notions of wealth, love and wisdom. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 2 Sep. 2022 That jagged slice of amethyst gifted to me by an ex. Stephanie Shih, Los Angeles Times, 9 Aug. 2022 The Time Stone is an emerald, the Space Stone is a sapphire, the Reality Stone is a ruby, the Power Stone is an amethyst, the Soul Stone is spessartite, and the Mind Stone is a yellow diamond. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 22 July 2022 This jewel is an oval-shaped, natural amethyst of more than 35 carats. Los Angeles Times, 22 July 2022 Outside, a lurid amethyst haze blankets the city, casting a purplish hue over everything and requiring anyone who leaves home to wear a mask. The New Yorker, 29 June 2022 The piece was silver and featured a purple amethyst atop the thistle. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 28 June 2022 Made in 1661, the golden globe is surrounded by a cross set with emeralds, diamonds, rubies, pearls and sapphires, and a large amethyst on top. Jill Newman, Town & Country, 19 June 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of amethyst was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near amethyst

Cite this Entry

“Amethyst.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


am·​e·​thyst ˈam-ə-thəst How to pronounce amethyst (audio)
: a clear purple or bluish violet variety of crystallized quartz used as a gem
: a medium purple

More from Merriam-Webster on amethyst

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