A brown to colorless mineral, ZrSiO4, which is heated, cut, and polished to form a brilliant blue-white gem.
[German Zirkon (originally in obsolete scientific German Zirkonerde, zirconium oxide, coined by German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743-1817), who first isolated it from a jacinth), probably partly from Arabic zarqūn, minium, bright red (from Persian zargūn, gold-colored, from Middle Persian zargōn, golden : zarr, zar-, golden from Old Iranian, *zarna-; see ghel-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + gōn, color, from Old Iranian *gaona-; akin to Sanskrit guṇaḥ, string, thread, quality), and partly from European terms for "jacinth" such as French jargon (from Old French jargonce, ultimately from Latin hyacinthus; see HYACINTH).]
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
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.