auriferous

adjective au·rif·er·ous \ ȯ-ˈri-f(ə-)rəs \

Definition of auriferous

: containing gold

auriferous was our Word of the Day on 11/07/2016. Hear the podcast!

The Golden History of auriferous

Students in chemistry class learn that the chemical symbol for gold is Au. That symbol is based on aurum, the Latin word for the element. In the 17th century, English speakers coined auriferous by appending the -ous ending to the Latin adjective aurifer, an offspring of aurum that means "containing gold" or "producing gold." (The -fer is from ferre, a Latin verb meaning "to produce" or "to bear.") Not surprisingly, auriferous is a term that shows up in geological contexts. Some other descendants of aurum include aureate ("of a golden color" or "marked by grandiloquent style"), auric ("of, relating to, or derived from gold"), and the noun or ("the heraldic color gold or yellow").

Origin and Etymology of auriferous

Latin aurifer, from aurum + -fer -ferous


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