noun, plural porphyries.
a very hard rock, anciently quarried in Egypt, having a dark, purplish-red groundmass containing small crystals of feldspar.
Petrology. any igneous rock containing coarse crystals, as phenocrysts, in a finer-grained groundmass.

1350–1400; Middle English porfurie, porfirie < Medieval Latin porphyreum, alteration of Latin porphyrītēs < Greek porphyrī́tēs porphyry, short for porphyrī́tēs líthos porphyritic (i.e., purplish) stone, equivalent to pórphyr(os) purple + -ītēs; see -ite1

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(Malchus) a.d. c233–c304, Greek philosopher.

Porphyrean [pawr-feer-ee-uhn] , adjective
Porphyrian, adjective, noun
Porphyrianist, noun
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World English Dictionary
porphyry (ˈpɔːfɪrɪ)
n , pl -ries
1.  any igneous rock with large crystals embedded in a finer groundmass of minerals
2.  obsolete a reddish-purple rock consisting of large crystals of feldspar in a finer groundmass of feldspar, hornblende, etc
[C14 porfurie, from Late Latin porphyrītēs, from Greek porphuritēs (lithos) purple (stone), from porphuros purple]

Porphyry (ˈpɔːfɪrɪ)
original name Malchus. 232--305 ad, Greek Neo-Platonist philosopher, born in Syria; disciple and biographer of Plotinus

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Word Origin & History

"beautiful and valuable stone," 1395, from O.Fr. porfire, from L. porphyrites, a purple semi-precious stone quarried near Red Sea in Egypt, from Gk. porphyrites "like purple" (the stone's name in Gk.), from porphyra (n.) "purple."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
porphyry   (pôr'fə-rē)  Pronunciation Key 
An igneous rock containing the large crystals known as phenocrysts embedded in a fine-grained matrix.

porphyritic adjective (pôr'fə-rĭt'ĭk)
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Encyclopedia Britannica


Neoplatonist Greek philosopher, important both as an editor and as a biographer of the philosopher Plotinus and for his commentary on Aristotle's Categories, which set the stage for medieval developments of logic and the problem of universals. Boethius' Latin translation of the introduction (Isagoge) became a standard medieval textbook.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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