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

  • n. A pearl or mineral that has been cut and polished for use as an ornament.
  • n. Something that is valued for its beauty or perfection: a little gem of a book.
  • n. A beloved or highly prized person.
  • n. A type of muffin.
  • transitive v. To adorn with or as if with precious or semiprecious stones.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A precious stone, usually of substantial monetary value or prized for its beauty or shine.
  • n. any precious or highly valued thing or person
  • n. a gemma or leaf-bud
  • n. a type of geometrid moth, Orthonama obstipata
  • n. A package containing programs or libraries for the Ruby programming language.
  • v. To adorn with, or as if with, gems.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A bud.
  • n. A precious stone of any kind, as the ruby, emerald, topaz, sapphire, beryl, spinel, etc., especially when cut and polished for ornament; a jewel.
  • n. Anything of small size, or expressed within brief limits, which is regarded as a gem on account of its beauty or value, as a small picture, a verse of poetry, a witty or wise saying.
  • transitive v. To put forth in the form of buds.
  • transitive v. To adorn with gems or precious stones.
  • transitive v. To embellish or adorn, as with gems.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put forth in buds; bud.
  • To adorn with gems, jewels, or precious stones.
  • To bespangle; embellish or adorn as if with gems: as, foliage gemmed with dewdrops.
  • To exploit in searching for gems; search for gems in: as, the right to gem a river or a tract of land.
  • n. A bud; especially, a leaf-bud. See gemma, 1.
  • n. A precious stone of any kind, as the diamond, ruby, topaz, emerald, etc., especially when cut and polished for ornamental purposes; a jewel.
  • n. Something likened to a gem; a beautiful, splendid, or costly object.
  • n. In entomology, the small geometrid moth Camptogramma fluviata: an English collectors' name.
  • n. The name given by English type-founders to a body of type that is intermediate between brilliant and diamond.
  • n. A cake made with flour or corn meal, sometimes sweetened, and usually baked in a sheet of small, shallow pans.

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

  • n. a precious or semiprecious stone incorporated into a piece of jewelry
  • n. a person who is as brilliant and precious as a piece of jewelry
  • n. art highly prized for its beauty or perfection
  • n. a sweet quick bread baked in a cup-shaped pan
  • n. a crystalline rock that can be cut and polished for jewelry


Middle English gemme, from Old French, from Latin gemma; see gembh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English ġimm, from Latin gemma; refashioned in Middle English under the influence of Old French gemme. (Wiktionary)



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  • "4. A type of muffin."

    --American Heritage Dictionary

    January 13, 2011