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The primary ore of zinc, occurring in usually yellow-brown or brownish-black crystals or cleavage masses, essentially ZnS with some cadmium, iron, and manganese. Also called blende, zinc blende.

[Greek sphaleros, slippery, deceitful (from its being easily mistaken for galena) (from sphallein, to trip, from sphalos, fetter, pair of stocks; akin to Sanskrit skhalate, he stumbles, and Armenian sxalem, I stumble) + -ite.]


(ˈsfæləˌraɪt; ˈsfeɪlə-)
(Minerals) a yellow to brownish-black mineral consisting of zinc sulphide in cubic crystalline form with varying amounts of iron, manganese, cadmium, gallium, and indium: the chief source of zinc. Formula: ZnS. Also called: zinc blende
[C19: from Greek sphaleros deceitful, from sphallein to cause to stumble]


(ˈsfæl əˌraɪt, ˈsfeɪ lə-)

an ore mineral, zinc sulfide, ZnS.
[1865–70; < Greek sphaler(ós) slippery, deceptive + -ite1]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sphalerite - an ore that is the chief source of zincsphalerite - an ore that is the chief source of zinc; consists largely of zinc sulfide in crystalline form
atomic number 49, indium, In - a rare soft silvery metallic element; occurs in small quantities in sphalerite
atomic number 81, thallium, Tl - a soft grey malleable metallic element that resembles tin but discolors on exposure to air; it is highly toxic and is used in rodent and insect poisons; occurs in zinc blende and some iron ores
mineral - solid homogeneous inorganic substances occurring in nature having a definite chemical composition