\ˈō-pəl \

Definition of opal 

: a usually amorphous mineral that is a hydrated silica softer and less dense than quartz and typically with definite and often marked iridescent play of colors and is used especially as a gem

Examples of opal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The complex gold chain draws the eye upward and outward from the concentrated energy of the pendant to a final oval pair of small opals. Barrymore Laurence Scherer, WSJ, "‘Boston Made: Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork’ Review: All That Glitters," 28 Nov. 2018 Case in point: the Instagram-favorite makeup artist known simply as @thestudyofmakeup looked to opals for her latest viral makeup look. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Opal Fire Highlighter Is the Latest Viral Technique by Insta-Fave Account TheStudyofMakeup," 20 Feb. 2018 To this day, 70 percent of the world's opals are mined around Coober Pedy. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Inside Coober Pedy, Australia's Underground Town," 14 May 2018 The palette is made up of three shades: a golden peach (Gammaray), a metallic opal (Helix), and lavender pink (Roseshock). Jessica Prince Erlich, The Cut, "The 15 Best Highlighters," 11 May 2018 The structure resembles that of tightly packed silica spheres in opal, which diffract light and produce the gemstone’s coveted color. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "Scientists uncover the secret behind shimmering seaweed," 13 Apr. 2018 Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine Virgin Valley, Nevada Some say opal can enhance cosmic consciousness and insight. Todd Plummer, Vogue, "Where to Find Your Own Crystals in the Wilds of the United States," 30 Mar. 2018 Mermaid, opal, prism, unicorn — after a while, all the colorful hair looks start to blend together into one big soupy rainbow. Erika Stalder, refinery29.com, ""Baby Rainbow" Hair Is The Coolest Festival Trend We've Seen," 22 Mar. 2018 Jewelry is made from recycled silver and stones, such as moody opals, sapphires, white topaz and labradorite. Linda Jerkins, ajc, "Southern Made: 3 artists at 3-day craft show," 7 Mar. 2018

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

circa 1586, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for opal

Latin opalus, from Greek opallios, ultimately from Sanskrit upala stone, jewel

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Dictionary Entries near opal





opal blue



Statistics for opal

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for opal

The first known use of opal was circa 1586

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More Definitions for opal



English Language Learners Definition of opal

: a white or clear stone that reflects changing colors and that is used in jewelry


\ˈō-pəl \

Kids Definition of opal

: a mineral with soft changeable colors that is used as a gem

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More from Merriam-Webster on opal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with opal

Spanish Central: Translation of opal

Nglish: Translation of opal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about opal

Comments on opal

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a nest or breeding place

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