\ 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

Otis Junior Music artist Carly Johnson: One of the most precious Louisville gems, Carly Johnson never fails to impress. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "Who is a must-see at this year's Forecastle? These Louisville music experts weigh in," 3 July 2019 My Life as a Rat is one of those gems, with Violet the vehicle for several explorations, including the ways vulnerable girls and young women can fall prey to domineering men and how loyalty to family can lead to betrayal of the self. Dallas News, "Joyce Carol Oates is at the height of her powers with 'My Life as a Rat'," 1 July 2019 Murray, one of the NBA’s rising stars, was one of the gems of the 2016 draft, which also netted the Nuggets guard Malik Beasley and forward Juancho Hernangomez. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Jamal Murray agrees to five-year, $170M extension with Nuggets, league source says," 30 June 2019 It has been sued by buyers for allegedly inflating the value of gems sold on the site. CBS News, "Luxury second-hand site The RealReal sees stock jump 45% after IPO," 28 June 2019 Our second treasure is equally full of precious gems and was buried on the same island by a 19th-century pirate ship navigator who was an accomplished mathematician and amateur poet. Quanta Magazine, "How to Find Simple Treasures in Complex Numbers," 14 Feb. 2019 The soundtrack is superb as well, accompanying a teenager's story with the kind of indie gems and rich guitar licks a stereotypical teenager would instantly find compelling. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Life Is Strange 2, episode 1 review: New setting, same heart," 28 Sep. 2018 Another hidden gem is the train station just south of downtown Orlando, where Amtrak stops. Dewayne Bevil,, "It’s National Selfie Day, so smile, Orlando," 21 June 2019 Mitch Keller pitched another gem for the Indians, but Toledo kept the Indy offense in check and scored a pair of late runs to steal a 3-1 win. Indianapolis Star, "Indians lose pitcher's duel in Toledo despite Mitch Keller dominance," 7 June 2019

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

15 Jul 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).


a small bunch of flowers

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