\ˈjem \

Definition of gem 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : jewel

b : a precious or sometimes semiprecious stone cut and polished for ornament

2a : something prized especially for great beauty or perfection

b : a highly prized or well-beloved person

3 : muffin


gemmed; gemming

Definition of gem (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to adorn with or as if with gems

Definition of GEM (Entry 3 of 3)

ground-effect machine

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Synonyms for gem

Synonyms: Noun

catch, jewel, pearl, plum, prize, treasure

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Examples of gem in a Sentence


The house is a gem of colonial architecture. He pitched a gem of a game. Her most recent novel is a real gem.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Kenny Stills, Dolphins Stills was one of last year’s late-round gems, ranking 61st among receivers by average draft position, but finishing 27th in total points in standard-scoring leagues, and 26th in PPR formats. Michael Beller,, "Fantasy Football's Most Undervalued Receivers for 2018," 10 July 2018 The crowns of the title — there are five — look like antique versions of astronaut headgear: gilded copper helmets, each studded with gems, encrusted with repoussé plaques, and topped by five-pronged antennas — the vajra or thunderbolt of wisdom. New York Times, "The Art of Staying Cool: 10 Can’t-Miss Summer Shows in New York," 4 July 2018 But don’t let the size intimidate you: many of its neighborhoods are walkable gems, from the artsy M50 district to the luxury district of Lujiazui, and there are English-speaking locales aplenty. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "The Best International Vacations for the Extended Fourth of July Weekend," 25 June 2018 International Gem & Jewelry Show An exhibition of gems, minerals and jewelry. Houston Chronicle, "On the Go: David Sedaris and a Juneteenth celebration," 13 June 2018 First gem: Bundy pitched seven scoreless innings in his first start of the season, but settled for a no-decision. Jon Meoli,, "Firsts of the Orioles' 2018 season," 30 Mar. 2018 Location: Englewood, Colorado Price: $599,000 Another gem in the midcentury enclave of Arapahoe Acres in Englewood, Colorado, is on the market—and this one’s one for sale for the first time in over 50 years. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Midcentury gem on the market for first time in 50 years asks $599K," 16 Mar. 2018 The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Politico obtained audio recordings of a closed-door speech to donors on Wednesday in Missouri, which featured some new Trump gems, and/or terrifying insights into how the president views the world. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "6 Weird and Worrying Moments From Trump’s Missouri Fundraising Speech," 15 Mar. 2018 What an absolute gem, who Julie Taylor does not deserve. Alexis Nedd, Cosmopolitan, "10 Fictional Men To Crush On Since Real Men Will Always Disappoint You," 22 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Clark and Liu foresaw a more relaxed approach, with decor and furniture inspired by their wilderness adventures, from beach hikes in Mendocino to gem hunting in Tucson, Ariz., now taken with toddler in tow. Leilani Marie Labong, San Francisco Chronicle, "A chef and a designer feather their North Beach nest," 9 Apr. 2018 Morera argues that the current flood of succulents and cactuses comprises more archetypes, as opposed to the collector’s gems that entranced superfans of past generations, including members of cactus clubs and mail-order gardeners. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Why cactuses and succulents are the perfect plants for this cultural moment," 4 Apr. 2018 Hov gemmed up on his get-money verses, while the Freebandz leader, Future assisted with the catchy chorus. Bianca Alysse, Billboard, "All He Does is Win: DJ Khaled's 10 Best Club Anthems," 7 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gem.' 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 gem


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1610, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gem


Middle English gemme, from Anglo-French, from Latin gemma bud, gem

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Learn More about gem

Dictionary Entries near gem


gel strength






Statistics for gem

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for gem

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

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More Definitions for gem



English Language Learners Definition of gem

: a valuable stone that has been cut and polished for use in jewelry

: something that is admired for its beauty or excellence


\ˈjem \

Kids Definition of gem

1 : a usually valuable stone cut and polished for jewelry

2 : something prized as being beautiful or perfect The old house is a real gem.

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Comments on gem

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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