placer

1 [plas-er]
noun Mining.
1.
a surficial mineral deposit formed by the concentration of small particles of heavy minerals, as gold, rutile, or platinum, in gravel or small sands.
2.
the site of a form of mining (placer mining) in which a placer deposit is washed to separate the gold or other valuable minerals.

Origin:
1835–45, Americanism; < American Spanish; Spanish: sandbank < Catalan placel, derivative of plaza open place; see plaza

Dictionary.com Unabridged

placer

2 [pley-ser]
noun
1.
a person who sets things in their place or arranges them.
2.
a person or animal that is among the winners of a race or other contest.

Origin:
1570–80; place + -er1

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
placer (ˈplæsə)
 
n
a.  surface sediment containing particles of gold or some other valuable mineral
 b.  (in combination): placer-mining
 
[C19: from American Spanish: deposit, from Spanish plazaplace]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
placer   (plās'ər)  Pronunciation Key 
A surface deposit of minerals, such as gold or magnetite, laid down by a river. The minerals are usually concentrated in one area because they are relatively heavy and therefore settle out of the river's currents more quickly than lighter sediments such as silt and sand. ◇ The extraction of minerals from placers, as by panning, washing, or dredging, is called placer mining.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The days of placer-mining coarse nuggets, or of following veins that run ounces to the ton are long gone.
Gold, or placer digging as it was called, was at its height.
The river flowing out of it forms placer mineral deposits.
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