1. A mineral of hydrated silica.
2. A gemstone made of this mineral, noted for its rich iridescence.
[Early Modern English, from Middle French opale, from Latin opalus, alteration of Greek opallios, probably from Sanskrit upalaḥ, stone, precious stone (often in the sandhi form opalaḥ in the names of gems such as nīlopalaḥ, sapphire : nīla-, blue + upalaḥ), possibly variant of upara-, lower, from upa, towards, under, down; see upo in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
opal·ine′ (ōpə-līn′, -lēn′) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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