\ ˈjem How to pronounce gem (audio) \

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

brilliant, gemstone, jewel, rock [slang]

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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

Wearing this gem is thought to help your courage and increase your joy. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "What’s Your Sign? Karen Elson on Her New Birthstone Perfume Bottle Tops," 18 Jan. 2019 This little gem of YA science-fiction is told in six vignettes, starting just a few years from now and ultimately arriving in traveling to a very distant future. Constance Grady, Vox, "The 16 best books I read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 This gem of a book manages to be an anatomy of our frightening digital age, a meditation on friendship, an exploration of the loneliness of military life and a love story—all so effortlessly. WSJ, "Who Read What in 2018: Fiction and Literature," 10 Dec. 2018 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas Robin Williams, as Adrian Cronauer, resurrected this Motown gem for Good Morning, Vietnam. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "100 Songs to Clean the Garage To," 20 Nov. 2018 The name of this gem means swing top, as in the seal on the bottle. San Antonio Express-News, "Not the beer that matters, it’s the bottle, right marketers?," 28 June 2018 SUBSCRIBE TODAY Chiefs guard Khalil McKenzie tweeted: OhMyGermany — Kahlil McKenzie Jr. (@Kahlil_Mckenzie) June 27, 2018 The American Outlaws, the fan group of U.S. Soccer, had this gem: Welcome, Germany. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Dirk Nowitzki and others react as Germany is knocked out of the World Cup," 27 June 2018 This rare Charleston gem is currently listed with Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty for $7,280,000, but lucky for you, our peek inside (below) is totally free. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "We Love Every Inch of This Newly Listed Mansion in Charleston’s Stunning Historic District," 12 June 2018 Located in the heart of Little 5 Points, this local gem offers an extensive menu of over 800 beers and some of the best food in the city. Avery Newmark, ajc, "7 low-key date ideas for Atlanta's chill couples," 8 June 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

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce gem (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on gem

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gem

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gem

Spanish Central: Translation of gem

Nglish: Translation of gem for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gem for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gem

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 speak slightingly about or to degrade

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