from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A purple or violet form of transparent quartz used as a gemstone.
  • n. A purple variety of corundum used as a gemstone.
  • n. A moderate purple to grayish reddish purple.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A transparent purple variety of quartz, used as a gemstone.
  • n. A purple colour.
  • n. The purple tincture when emblazoning the arms of the English nobility.
  • adj. Having a colour similar to that of the gemstone

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A variety of crystallized quartz, of a purple or bluish violet color, of different shades. It is much used as a jeweler's stone.
  • A purple color in a nobleman's escutcheon, or coat of arms.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A violet-blue or purple variety of quartz, the color being perhaps due to the presence of peroxid of iron.
  • n. In heraldry, the color purple when described in blazoning a nobleman's escutcheon. See tincture.
  • n. The name of a humming-bird, Calliphlox amethystina.
  • n. A trade-name for certain artificial dyes of the azine class, as tetramethyl safranine and tetra-amyl safranine.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of a moderate purple color
  • n. a transparent purple variety of quartz; used as a gemstone


Middle English amatist, from Old French, from Latin amethystus, from Greek amethustos, not drunk or intoxicating, remedy for intoxication, amethyst : a-, not; see a-1 + *methuskein, to intoxicate (from methuein, to be drunk, from methu, wine; see medhu- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English ametist, from Old French ametiste (French améthyste), from Ancient Greek ἀμέθυστος (amethustos, "not drunk"), from ἀ- (a-, "not") + μεθύω (methuō, "I am drunk"), from μέθυ (methu, "wine"). The Greeks believed that the amethyst prevented intoxication. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Interesting etymology. From Greek amethustos, not drunk or intoxicating. The Greeks believed that amethyst prevented intoxication.

    July 10, 2016

  • For example, see here.

    April 14, 2007