Main definitions of gem in US English:

: gem1GEM2


nounPlural gems

  • 1A precious or semiprecious stone, especially when cut and polished or engraved.

    • ‘A good example would be the fourteen precious gems.’
    • ‘The first encounter many will have with the diamond and precious gems industry will be in the plush backroom of a high-street jewellers.’
    • ‘Likewise, no true pleasure is attained from gems and precious stones, although admittedly a false sense of joy may be felt.’
    • ‘In recent years there has been a flurry of headlines about prospecting companies coming to the Highlands in search of precious gems.’
    • ‘Take an extraordinary artistic heritage, the luxury of precious metals and priceless gems and an environment that can make even the most jaded shopper quiver with excitement.’
    • ‘Diamonds and precious gems littered the ground like pebbles.’
    • ‘On top of the stone, a circle of precious gems and minerals formed a ring around a pool of water.’
    • ‘They reflect and refract the light, giving the depth and luminosity of a precious gem.’
    • ‘Once the domain of royalty, precious gems have today become a part of almost everyone's jewellery.’
    • ‘Faberge's ingenious use of enamelling on gold and silver, his stone cutting and use of precious gems, made his imperial Easter eggs works of art.’
    • ‘There were also several polished gems and stones, each serving a different purpose, along with many partially burnt candles.’
    • ‘Members were instructed in the various settings of precious stones and gems.’
    • ‘Now I have absolutely nothing to do with crystals, gems and precious stones whatsoever: my thing is fire magic at new moon.’
    • ‘On display are approximately two hundred examples of semiprecious and precious gems, decorative stones, and outstanding pieces of jewelry.’
    • ‘The cave was glimmering with the shining gems and precious jewels that were collected over the centuries.’
    • ‘Inside the red box was a diamond necklace, engraved with several other precious gems.’
    • ‘The throne sat in the center, a large, cushioned armchair studded with many a precious and semi-precious gem.’
    • ‘These ornaments are made in silver, and precious and semi-precious gems are used to embellish them.’
    • ‘Most of us don't have thousands of dollars to spend on a fancy night or weekend trip, precious gems, or expensive high society gifts to impress our loved one.’
    • ‘Others made from precious gems appear lighter.’
    jewel, precious stone, semi-precious stone, stone, solitaire, brilliant, baguette, cabochon
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person or thing considered to be outstandingly good or special in some respect.
      ‘this architectural gem of a palace’
      • ‘It was a tayra, a large, weasel-like mustelid, one of the real gems of New World rainforests.’
      • ‘Now you can find all of these wonderful pop gems living in a different world.’
      • ‘The clubhouse in the mountains is a little gem of rustic Spanish charm, with great food and friendly staff ready to ply you with refreshing copas of champagne and plates of Serrano ham after your labours.’
      • ‘This gem of a book explores the ways in which animals control and utilize body heat.’
      • ‘The cathedral is now a vibrant and living component of the cultural and religious life of Waterford city and is one of our most treasured architectural gems.’
      • ‘Some are songs that other bands now play, but, in his hands, they emerge as individual gems glimmering in the brilliance of his unique arrangements.’
      • ‘But in the midst of this relentless repression, there were rare, precious gems of resistance gleaming out from the melancholy.’
      • ‘Beside the architectural and historical gems, there's another side to the town: it is a centre for alternative therapies.’
      • ‘Buried within lengthy scientific explanations of pigment manufacture are gems of information and insight into colour and its history in art.’
      • ‘Having such a precious gem as the Olympics hanging around gives a fulcrum to the leverage of dissent.’
      • ‘Each song on the trio's final disc is a pop gem, but they've all been on previous albums.’
      • ‘A meeting is being organised to set up a civic trust or society to preserve the city's architectural gems and encourage stunning modern designs.’
      • ‘His ‘unique’ spoken phrasing has been applied to pop gems before, but this thing's a bit different and more personal.’
      • ‘The most brilliant of the gems are by the lesser known artists.’
      • ‘The school was bought by the parish council for use by the people - not because it was considered an architectural gem, or for sentimental reasons.’
      • ‘With over 400 miles of ground to cover, you'll have time to stop at all of the special places that make this byway such a gem.’
      • ‘One of the city's architectural gems is to be restored to glory by a multi-million pound revamp - but some of Manchester's oldest trees will be felled in the process.’
      • ‘One of the commentators (I wish I knew his name) offered a gem that went something like this.’
      • ‘Undoubtedly you will be treated to some gems, some brilliant bits of repartee, the occasional burst of intellectual fireworks.’
      • ‘It's a little gem of the recent morphometric literature.’
      best, finest, pride, prize, treasure, glory, wonder, flower, pearl, jewel, the jewel in the crown, masterpiece, chef-d'œuvre, leading light, pick, choice, paragon, prime, cream, the crème de la crème, elite, elect
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Used in names of some brilliantly colored hummingbirds, e.g., mountain gem.

verbgems, gemmed, gemming

[with object]usually as adjective gemmed
  • Decorate with or as with gems.

    • ‘The alter was made of pearl white marble and the crosses and decor made out of gold and silver, gemmed with precious and semi-precious stones.’
    • ‘Their cheeks are gemmed with tears lit pink in the coming sun.’
    • ‘Because he squirmed in protest as she tried to remove his gilded, gemmed gauntlets, she had to leave them on.’
    • ‘With this idea he hastened to the florist's and purchased a bouquet that was still gemmed with the morning dew-drops.’
    • ‘With the gemmed undergarments being worth a reputed £10,000, to not show them to anybody would be even more pointless than making them in the first place.’


Old English gim, from Latin gemma ‘bud, jewel’; influenced in Middle English by Old French gemme.




Main definitions of gem in US English:

: gem1GEM2



  • Ground-effect machine.