One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A widely occurring pale green to purple mineral, consisting of calcium phosphate with some fluorine, chlorine, and other elements. It is used in the manufacture of fertilizers.
- ‘The next few pockets yielded only dark blue apatite and clear to smoky to pale citrine quartz.’
- ‘Some calcareous veins contain epidote, titanite and apatite.’
- ‘Magnetite, apatite, titanite and zircon make up the accessory minerals.’
- ‘In contrast with the well-known, somewhat similar mine at Panasqueira, Portugal, it is remarkable that at Yaogangxian fluorite is very common, and apatite is rather rare.’
- ‘Thus it is with some surprise that we report for the first time the discovery of well-formed crystals of apatite in Ohio.’
Early 19th century: coined in German from Greek apatē ‘deceit’ (from the mineral's diverse forms and colours).
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