maf·​ic ˈma-fik How to pronounce mafic (audio)
: of, relating to, or being a group of usually dark-colored minerals rich in magnesium and iron

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Basalt is also derived from melting the mantle, but in that case, only 10 to 20 percent is typically melting thanks to fractional melting (the lowest temperature minerals melt first, leaving behind the more mafic minerals/elements). Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 24 Oct. 2016 The large shield volcano is similar in many ways to Kilauea, were many of the eruptions occur as mafic (low silica) eruptions of lava flows from fissures that open on the sides of the volcano. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 30 June 2014 Basaltic lava is mafic, an abbreviation of two of its prevalent elements, magnesium and ferrum, derived from the Latin word for iron. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 24 Nov. 2015 Orange is hotter, in the intermediate range, and yellow is hotter still, in the mafic range. New York Times, 18 May 2018 Kilauea releases mafic magma, and the temperature at eruption is about 2,140 degrees Fahrenheit. New York Times, 18 May 2018 Ocean volcanoes form over ocean crust that's lower in silica and contain a runnier kind of hot rock called mafic magma. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, 17 May 2018 See More

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

Word History


New Latin magnesium + Latin ferrum iron + English -ic

First Known Use

1912, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mafic was in 1912

Dictionary Entries Near mafic

Cite this Entry

“Mafic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

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