: 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 Sweeney's metallic underwear — which retails for $5,800 on Miu Miu's website — also comes in beige (Emma Corin modeled the colorway on the runway last spring) and pink opal. Nicholas Rice, Peoplemag, 9 Mar. 2024 The manager demonstrated how to use the rock hammers, and then people got to banging away, trying to find opals in the rock. Marla Jo Fisher, Orange County Register, 31 Jan. 2024 For Swift’s special birthday, Sperry gave her a gorgeous opal ring, which many initially assumed was gifted to the singer by Kelce. Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 11 Feb. 2024 The result: this giant black Australian opal set high in 18-karat gold, surrounded by marquise-cut diamonds, a totem at once wicked and wise. New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Nak Armstrong’s 20K gold Triple Ruched Ring of aquamarine, blue moonstone, blue Peruvian opal and diamonds. Beth Bernstein, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2024 The ring, in fact, is probably the biggest style statement from the bash, as many speculate the opal (the birthstone of her Libra football beau) is surrounded by blue topaz (the Sagittarius singer's birth stone). Brittany Talarico, Peoplemag, 19 Dec. 2023 Authorities also gave her a gold ring set with an opal and two diamonds that was found with her mother's remains. CBS News, 5 Dec. 2023 As previously reported, the bright iridescent colors in butterfly wings, soap bubbles, opals, or beetle shells don't come from any pigment molecules but from how they are structured—naturally occurring photonic crystals. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 18 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'opal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1586, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of opal was circa 1586

Dictionary Entries Near opal

Cite this Entry

“Opal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opal. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

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