- a variegated chalcedony showing curved, colored bands or other markings.
- a playing marble made of this substance, or of glass in imitation of it.
- Printing. a 5½-point type of a size between pearl and nonpareil.Compare ruby(def 6).
- an impure microcrystalline form of quartz consisting of a variegated, usually banded chalcedony, used as a gemstone and in making pestles and mortars, burnishers, and polishers. Formula: SiO 2
- a playing marble of this quartz or resembling it
- Also called: ruby printing, US and Canadian (formerly) a size of printer’s type approximately equal to 5 1/2 point
- Northern English dialect on the way
- James (Evershed). 1877–1947, British theatre critic; drama critic for The Sunday Times (1923–47) and author of a nine-volume diary Ego (1935–49)
1560s, from Middle French agathe (16c.), from Latin achates, from Greek akhates, the name of a river in Sicily where the stones were found (Pliny). But the river could as easily be named for the stone.
The earlier English form of the word, achate (early 13c.), was directly from Latin. Figurative sense of “a diminutive person” (c.1600) is from the now-obsolete meaning “small figures cut in agates for seals,” preserved in typographer’s agate (1838), the U.S. name of the 5.5-point font called in Great Britain ruby. Meaning “toy marble made of glass resembling agate” is from 1843 (colloquially called an aggie).
- A type of very fine-grained quartz found in various colors that are arranged in bands or in cloudy patterns. The bands form when water rich with silica enters empty spaces in rock, after which the silica comes out of solution and forms crystals, gradually filling the spaces from the outside inward. The different colors are the result of various impurities in the water.