por·​phy·​ry ˈpȯr-f(ə-)rē How to pronounce porphyry (audio)
plural porphyries
: a rock consisting of feldspar crystals embedded in a compact dark red or purple groundmass
: an igneous rock of porphyritic texture

Examples of porphyry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web According to Simeoni, it was originally created by workmen who came all the way from Italy and collaborated with British carvers, using a combination of materials both local and transported all the way from Rome, including purple and green porphyry and Purbeck marble. Kelly Faircloth, Curbed, 5 May 2023 Its vast dome was designed by master architects from the East using innovative engineering; its marble floors featured circles of rare purple porphyry from Egypt, and the walls and ceilings glowed with colored marble and stucco, and an image of Christ hovering above the four rivers of paradise. Tony Perrottet, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Jan. 2023 The abstract pattern includes triangles, squares, circles, and rectangles made of onyx, purple porphyry, green serpentine, and yellow limestone, along with red, turquoise, and cobalt blue colored glass. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 28 Mar. 2023 Since 2010, the world’s largest copper producer has been Chile, thanks to the abundant porphyry copper in the Andes. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 13 Aug. 2019 Most copper is found in porphyry copper deposits in the large chunks of molten rock that make up the Earth’s crust. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 24 Dec. 2022 Trompe l’oeil artists were also highly in demand in the decorative arts, and wealthy patrons would hire peintres-décorateurs to shellac their drawing rooms with imitation marble and porphyry. Jason Farago, New York Times, 11 Nov. 2022 The hotel commissioned Kaja Dahl to reenvision a stone drinking fountain that once stood in the wellness area and to fashion vases in granite-like porphyry for the guest suites. James Stewart, Robb Report, 23 Apr. 2022 By the 1590s, artists were looking at slate, marble, lapis lazuli, agate, amethyst, alabaster, obsidian, onyx, jasper, limestone and porphyry to envision a new kind of painting. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, 12 Mar. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Middle English porphiri, from Medieval Latin porphyrium, alteration of Latin porphyrites, from Greek porphyritēs (lithos), literally, stone like Tyrian purple, from porphyra purple

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of porphyry was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near porphyry

Cite this Entry

“Porphyry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/porphyry. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


por·​phy·​ry ˈpȯr-f(ə-)rē How to pronounce porphyry (audio)
plural porphyries
: a rock consisting of feldspar crystals set firmly in a compact dark red or purple base

More from Merriam-Webster on porphyry

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!