spinel

[spi-nel, spin-l]
noun
1.
any of a group of minerals composed principally of oxides of magnesium, aluminum, iron, manganese, chromium, etc., characterized by their hardness and octahedral crystals.
2.
a mineral of this group, essentially magnesium aluminate, MgAl 2 O 4 , some varieties being used as gems.
Also, spinelle.


Origin:
1520–30; < French spinelle < Italian spinella, equivalent to spin(a) thorn (< Latin spīna) + -ella -elle

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World English Dictionary
spinel (spɪˈnɛl)
 
n
1.  any of a group of hard glassy minerals of variable colour consisting of oxides of aluminium, magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc, or manganese and occurring in the form of octahedral crystals: used as gemstones
2.  a hard, glassy mineral composed of magnesium-aluminium oxide found in metamorphosed limestones and many basic and ultrabasic igneous rocks. Formula: MgAl2O4
 
[C16: from French spinelle, from Italian spinella, diminutive of spina a thorn, from Latin; so called from the shape of the crystals]

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
spinel also spinelle   (spĭ-něl')  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A hard, variously colored cubic mineral, having usually octahedral crystals and occurring in igneous and metamorphosed carbonate rocks. The red variety is valued as a gem and is sometimes confused with the ruby. Chemical formula: MgAl2O4.

  2. Any of a group of minerals that are oxides of magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, or aluminum.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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Example sentences
Nickel spinel can be difficult to reduce resulting in decreased catalyst performance.
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