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

  • n. A rose-red to orange spinel used as a semiprecious gem, once confused with the ruby.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of rose-coloured spinel once thought to be a form of ruby (now usually used attributively: balas-ruby).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A variety of spinel ruby, of a pale rose-red color, sometimes inclining to orange. See spinel. Usually called balas-ruby.
  • n. A long dagger intended for thrusting rather than cutting, used by the Turks; a Turkish yataghan.

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

  • n. a pale rose-colored variety of the ruby spinel


Middle English, from Old French balais and from Old Spanish balax; both akin to Medieval Latin balascus, from Arabic balaḫš, from Persian Badakhshān, a region of northeast Afghanistan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French balais, from Arabic بلخش (balakhsh), from Persian بدخشان (badakhshān, "Badakhshan"), the region where they are found. (Wiktionary)


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