auriferous

adjective

au·​rif·​er·​ous ȯ-ˈri-f(ə-)rəs How to pronounce auriferous (audio)
: containing gold

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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").

Examples of auriferous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web All articles that coruscate with resplendence are not, ipso facto, auriferous. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Oct. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'auriferous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin aurifer, from aurum + -fer -ferous

First Known Use

1655, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of auriferous was in 1655

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Dictionary Entries Near auriferous

Cite this Entry

“Auriferous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/auriferous. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

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