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[gems] /gɛms/
noun, plural gemses
[gem-siz, -ziz] /ˈgɛm sɪz, -zɪz/ (Show IPA)
chamois (def 1).
Also, gemse
[gem-zuh] /ˈgɛm zə/ (Show IPA)
Origin of gems
< German; Old High German gamiza < Late Latin camoc- (stem of camox)


[jem] /dʒɛm/
a cut and polished precious stone or pearl fine enough for use in jewelry.
something likened to or prized as such a stone because of its beauty or worth:
His painting was the gem of the collection.
a person held in great esteem or affection.
muffin (def 1).
British Printing. a 4-point type of a size between brilliant and diamond.
verb (used with object), gemmed, gemming.
to adorn with or as with gems; begem.
Jewelry. noting perfection or very high quality:
gem color; a gem ruby.
1275-1325; Middle English gemme < Old French < Latin gemma bud, jewel; replacing Middle English yimme, Old English gim(m) < Latin
Related forms
gemless, adjective
gemlike, adjective
2. treasure, prize, jewel, pearl. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gems
  • They have all kinds of bright lights and the gems and jewelry really reflect the light up into your face.
  • Celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the first movie review with some particularly excoriating gems from the past century.
  • Chalcedonies include many types of cryptocrystalline quartz gems and feature a number of different colors.
  • He is now experimenting with drilling holes in the gems and knotting them together in varying configurations.
  • Brave store openings bring new gems throughout the city.
  • Few of the artists are household names, but there are plenty of gems that reflect his lively curiosity and idiosyncratic taste.
  • Street artists paint tiny gems amid the growing downtown squalor.
  • Usually gems are under a carat, are only used in very special jewelry.
  • Lucrative industries of gems, oil and forestry remain heavily regulated.
British Dictionary definitions for gems


a precious or semiprecious stone used in jewellery as a decoration; jewel
a person or thing held to be a perfect example; treasure
a size of printer's type, approximately equal to 4 point
(NZ) a type of small sweet cake
verb gems, gemming, gemmed
(transitive) to set or ornament with gems
Derived Forms
gemlike, adjective
gemmy, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French gemme, from Latin gemma bud, precious stone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gems



Old English gimm "precious stone, gem, jewel," also "eye," from Latin gemma "precious stone, jewel," originally "bud," perhaps from the root *gen- "to produce," or from PIE *gembh- "tooth, nail." Of persons, from late 13c. Forms in -i-, -y- were lost early 14c., and the modern form of the word probably representing a Middle English borrowing from Old French gemme (12c.). As a verb, from c.1600, "to adorn with gems;" mid-12c. as "to bud."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for gems


Global Environment Monitoring System


  1. Gemini
  2. ground-effect machine
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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