from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A chalcedony that occurs in bands of different colors and is used as a gemstone, especially in cameos and intaglios.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A variety of quartz, closely allied to agate, characterized by a structure in parallel bands differing in color or in degree of translucency: in the better kinds the layers are sharply defined and the colors white with black, brown, or red.
  • noun An infiltration of pus between he layers of the cornea, resembling a nail.
  • noun In conchology: The piddock, Pholas dactylus.
  • noun A razor-shell; a bivalve of the family Solenidæ.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Deep, jet-black.
  • noun (Min.) Chalcedony in parallel layers of different shades of color. It is used for making cameos, the figure being cut in one layer with the next as a ground.
  • noun Same as Mexican onyx.
  • noun A deep jet-black color.
  • noun a banded variety of marble or calcium carbonate resembling onyx. It is obtained from Mexico in various colors ranging from white to deep black.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun mineralogy A banded variety of chalcedony, a cryptocrystalline form of quartz.
  • adjective jet-black

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

  • noun a chalcedony with alternating black and white bands; used in making cameos


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

[Middle English onix, from Old French, from Latin onyx, from Greek onux, nail, onyx; see nogh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Before 1300 as onix, in about 1250 as oneche, from Old French oniche or onix, or from Latin onyx, from Greek ὄνυξ (onyx).


  • The high altar, composed of Mexican marble and onyx, is one of the finest ever constructed.

    Six Months in Mexico

  • The onyx was the color of her long, shiny black hair; the rubies were the color of her lips.


  • It is found notably in the volcanic district of Mono County, and elsewhere, sometimes in the form of Mexican onyx, which is only a translucent variety of the same marble.

    The Jewel City

  • Pennsylvania, and Vermont, and also a small amount of so-called onyx marble or travertine obtained from caves and other deposits in Kentucky and other states.

    The Economic Aspect of Geology

  • The onyx is a variety of quartz analogous to the agate and other crypto-crystalline species.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14: Simony-Tournon

  • Oriental alabaster, the alabastrites of the classical writers, is a translucent marble (calcium carbonate) obtained from stalagmitic deposits; because of its usually banded structure, which gives it some resemblance to onyx, it is also called onyx marble, or simply, though incorrectly, onyx.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize

  • It is usually clouded or banded like agate, hence sometimes called onyx marble.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • (see Beryl above), we are in no way bound to accept the Greek beryllos as the translation of shhm, and relying on the testimony of the various versions we may safely hold the onyx is the stone signified by shhm.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14: Simony-Tournon

  • There is a kind of onyx called a chalcedony, which hath the same qualities, [4151] avails much against fantastic illusions which proceed from melancholy, preserves the vigour and good estate of the whole body.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • The shoham stone, rendered "onyx" above, may never be identified.

    Exposition of Genesis: Volume 1


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