- 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.
- 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: Al 2 O 3
- (as modifier)a sapphire ring
- the blue colour of sapphire
- (as adjective)sapphire eyes
n.“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.
- 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.