apatite

noun

ap·​a·​tite ˈa-pə-ˌtīt How to pronounce apatite (audio)
: any of a group of calcium phosphate minerals occurring in various colors as hexagonal crystals, as granular masses, or in fine-grained masses as the chief constituent of phosphate rock and of bones and teeth
especially : calcium phosphate fluoride

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web That's where time and temperature come in: The rate at which helium-4 leaks out into nearby rock slows as the apatite cools. Valerie Ross, Discover Magazine, 2 Apr. 2011 Branam was aware of similar research in South Carolina that indicated fluoride in the water came from a specific mineral in fossilized shark teeth called apatite and wanted to see if that could be a factor in his Indiana water samples. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 26 Aug. 2022 But now, after failing to take Ukraine by force, Russia’s military shortcomings will be on full display, strengthening Ukrainian apatite for sustained resistance and a long war of attrition. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 2 May 2022 The other important minerals available in significant quantities are limestone, dolomite, manganese, mica, china clay, graphite, fire clay, coal bed methane, uranium, phosphorite, apatite, quartz, gold, feldspar and pyroxenite. Gurvinder Singh, Quartz India, 4 Oct. 2019 When uranium decays to lead, a natural process that happens at a steady rate, the split leaves a tiny track in the apatite that is visible under a microscope. Lisa Grossman, WIRED, 15 Sep. 2010

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

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from German Apatit, from Greek apatáō, apatân "to deceive" (derivative of apátē "deceit, fraud," perhaps of substratal origin) + German -it -ite entry 1

Note: The term was introduced by the German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817). It apparently first appeared, attributed to Werner, in Carl Abraham Gerhard's Grundriss des Mineralsystems (Berlin, 1786), p. 281. Werner himself described the mineral in "Geschichte, Karakteristik, und kurze chemische Untersuchung des Apatits," Bergmännisches Journal, 1. Band, 1. Stück (April, 1788), pp. 76-96. He accounts for the naming of the mineral on pp. 84-85: "Ich wies hierauf diesem Fossile, als einer eigenen Gattung, sogleich eine Stelle in dem Kalkgeschlechte an; und ertheilte ihm, — weil es bisher alle Mineralogen in seiner Bestimmung irre geführt hatte, — den Namen Apatit, den ich von dem griechischen Worte απατάω (decipio) bildete, und welcher so viel als Trügling sagt." ("I thereupon allocated to this fossil [i. e., substance dug out of the earth], as its own genus, a place in the calcium family; and conferred on it—because it had up to now led all mineralogists identifying it astray—the name apatite, which I formed from the Greek word apatáō ([I] deceive) and which says as much as [the word] deceiver.")

First Known Use

1794, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of apatite was in 1794

Dictionary Entries Near apatite

Cite this Entry

“Apatite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apatite. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

apatite

noun
ap·​a·​tite ˈap-ə-ˌtīt How to pronounce apatite (audio)
: any of a group of variously colored minerals that are phosphates of calcium and that are used as a source of phosphorus and its compounds

Medical Definition

apatite

noun
ap·​a·​tite ˈap-ə-ˌtīt How to pronounce apatite (audio)
: any of a group of calcium phosphate minerals occurring variously as hexagonal crystals, as granular masses, or in fine-grained masses as the chief constituent of bones and teeth and of phosphate rock
especially : calcium phosphate fluoride Ca5F(PO4)3

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