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[saf-ahyuh r] /ˈsæf aɪər/
any gem variety of corundum other than the ruby, especially one of the blue varieties.
a gem of this kind.
the color of this gem, a deep blue.
resembling sapphire; deep blue:
a sapphire sky.
Origin of sapphire
1225-75; < Latin sapphīrus < Greek sáppheiros, probably < Semitic (compare Hebrew sappīr; ulterior origin obscure); replacing Middle English safir < Old French < Latin, as above Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sapphire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The afternoon had been spent in concealing the sapphire chest in a recess behind some rocks some distance from the hut.

  • Below, the lake lay blue as a sapphire mirroring a sapphire sky.

    Mary Gray Katharine Tynan
  • Deep down in a shaft, or in an ice-cavern, the sapphire reflection gives to the human face quite a ghastly pallor.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • Once or twice he looked from the shopkeeper to the sapphire.

    The Coast of Chance Esther Chamberlain
  • Only two rings were there, the third ring, the one with the sapphire and the two diamonds, was missing.

    Murder in Any Degree Owen Johnson
British Dictionary definitions for sapphire


  1. any precious corundum gemstone that is not red, esp the highly valued transparent blue variety. A synthetic form is used in electronics and precision apparatus. Formula: Al2O3
  2. (as modifier): a sapphire ring
  1. the blue colour of sapphire
  2. (as adjective): sapphire eyes
Word Origin
C13 safir, from Old French, from Latin sapphīrus, from Greek sappheiros, perhaps from Hebrew sappīr, ultimately perhaps from Sanskrit śanipriya, literally: beloved of the planet Saturn, from śani Saturn + priya beloved
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 sapphire

"precious stone next in hardness to a diamond," mid-13c., from Old French saphir (12c.) and directly from Latin sapphirus (cf. Spanish zafir, Italian zaffiro), from Greek sappheiros "blue stone" (the gem meant apparently was not the one that now has the name, but perhaps rather "lapis lazuli," the modern sapphire being perhaps signified by Greek hyakinthos), from a Semitic source (cf. Hebrew sappir "sapphire"), but probably not ultimately from Semitic. Some linguists propose an origin in Sanskrit sanipriya, a dark precious stone (perhaps sapphire or emerald), literally "sacred to Saturn," from Sani "Saturn" + priyah "precious." In Renaissance lapidaries, it was said to cure anger and stupidity. As an adjective from early 15c. Related: Sapphiric; sapphirine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sapphire in Science
A clear, fairly pure form of the mineral corundum that is usually blue but may be any color except red. It often contains small amounts of oxides of cobalt, chromium, and titanium and is valued as a gem. Compare ruby.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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sapphire in the Bible

Associated with diamonds (Ex. 28:18) and emeralds (Ezek. 28:13); one of the stones in the high priest's breastplate. It is a precious stone of a sky-blue colour, probably the lapis lazuli, brought from Babylon. The throne of God is described as of the colour of a sapphire (Ex. 24:10; comp. Ezek. 1:26).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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