em·​er·​ald | \ˈem-rəld, ˈe-mə-\

Definition of emerald 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a rich green variety of beryl prized as a gemstone

2 : any of various green gemstones (such as synthetic corundum or demantoid)



Definition of emerald (Entry 2 of 2)

: brightly or richly green

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Did You Know?

Highly valued as gemstones, emeralds are a grass-green variety of beryl. The capacity of emeralds to deflect light and to break white light into its component colors is not high, so cut stones display little brilliancy or fire (flashes of color). The color that gives this gem its value comes from the presence of small amounts of chromium. The most important production of fine-quality gem material is Colombia; emeralds are also mined in Russia, Australia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Synthetic emeralds are identical to natural crystals and may rival them in color and beauty.

Examples of emerald in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Hotel Nacional’s elegant outdoor bar, patrolled by emerald peacocks, evoked the romantic 1950s. Tony Perrottet, WSJ, "A Weirdly Fascinating Cold-War Tour of Havana," 20 Nov. 2018 Every other variation of green in between has been incorporated into my makeup routine, though, including lime, forest, and emerald. Devon Abelman, Allure, "PSA: Green Color Corrector Doubles as the Perfect Mint Eye Shadow," 24 Oct. 2018 According to the Telegraph, it's made from platinum and features a 93.70-carat center emerald surrounded by six smaller stones, and dates back to 1919. Ana Colón, Glamour, "You Have to See Princess Eugenie of York's Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos Royal Wedding Dress," 12 Oct. 2018 There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the water was glistening like a million tiny emeralds. Marie Claire, "Jessie Reyez Tells Us Why She Loves Mount Shasta, CA," 19 Oct. 2018 There is an acrylic painting that looks like an emerald by a South African artist, Kurt Pio, whose dealer is in New Orleans. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "A New York Pied-à-terre Filled with Rich Colors, Layered Patterns and Upholstered Surfaces," 19 Oct. 2018 The bride also wore the Greville Emerald tiara, lent by her grandmother, which features a 93.70-carat emerald at its center and was made in 1919. Hanna Howard, Teen Vogue, "Princess Eugenie’s Royal Wedding Recap," 12 Oct. 2018 Everywhere there were azaleas, dogwoods, pines, emerald fairways, pristine greens. Margaret Mary Finlan, Philly.com, "Personal Journey: The Green of Augusta," 25 May 2018 On Thursday, Princess Sofia of Sweden attended an event wearing an emerald-green ensemble that reminded many of the Duchess of Sussex's white Stella McCartney. Andrea Park, Glamour, "Meghan Markle's Wedding-Reception Look Was So Good, Other Royals Are Trying It," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

From our first glance at the bride's stunning dress by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos to her historic emerald tiara, the royal family did not disappoint with the second royal wedding of the year. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "The Cute Moment Between Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth You Might Have Missed During Eugenie's Wedding," 13 Oct. 2018 Both wore outfits with emerald accents to match Eugenie's emerald tiara, which also matched her earrings and her mom's outfit, coincidentally, Pippa Middleton's outfit. The Editors, Marie Claire, "A Page Boy at Princess Eugenie's Wedding Recovered Like a Champ After Tripping Up," 12 Oct. 2018 Add butter and process to smooth and emerald-green. Gabrielle Hamilton, House Beautiful, "The Only Cheeseburger Recipe You'll Ever Need," 7 June 2012 The mission led them to stones from Colombia, historically the world's emerald leader, but newer specimens from Zambia also met their strict standards. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Van Cleef & Arpels Reveals the 46-Piece Emeraude en Majesteé Collection," 1 Nov. 2016 Straight into the cleft tucks an emerald fish, its head entirely enveloped. Leah Ollman, latimes.com, "Naked body parts, hair as sculpture: The strange, sinister, seductive art of Julie Curtiss," 5 June 2018 Millions of Alaska birds nest on rocky emerald islands seen by few people other than ship captains. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Why some birds smell like tangerines, and others smell like lavender," 28 Apr. 2018 Aguilera dons Twiggy-esque eyelashes, glossy emerald lipstick and a sultry, sheer red dress drenched in water at different points throughout the series. Abby Jones, Billboard, "Christina Aguilera Is Unrecognizable in 'Paper' Magazine's Transformation Issue: See the Pics," 26 Mar. 2018 But after a big storm, the taupe landscapes around towns like Lebec, Frazier Park and Gorman along the 5 are replaced by stunning emerald foothills blooming with wildflowers in every hue imaginable. Benjamin Oreskes, latimes.com, "Essential California: Silicon Valley may be headed for a reckoning," 23 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of emerald


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1508, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for emerald


Middle English emerallde, from Anglo-French esmeralde, from Vulgar Latin *smaralda, from Latin smaragdus, from Greek smaragdos — more at smaragd

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Statistics for emerald

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for emerald

The first known use of emerald was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for emerald



English Language Learners Definition of emerald

: a bright green stone that is used in jewelry

: a bright or rich green color


em·​er·​ald | \ˈe-mə-rəld, ˈem-rəld\

Kids Definition of emerald

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a gemstone of a rich green color



Kids Definition of emerald (Entry 2 of 2)

: brightly or richly green

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More from Merriam-Webster on emerald

Spanish Central: Translation of emerald

Nglish: Translation of emerald for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of emerald for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about emerald

Comments on emerald

What made you want to look up emerald? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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