a. A colorless, blue, yellow, brown, or pink aluminum silicate mineral, often found in association with granitic rocks and valued as a gemstone.
b. Any of various yellow gemstones, especially a yellow variety of sapphire or corundum.
2. A light yellow variety of quartz.
[Middle English topace, from Old French, from Latin topazus, a precious green stone, from Greek topazos, topazion, a precious green stone such as peridot or chrysolite, perhaps after Topazios, ancient name (said by Pliny the Elder to mean “to be sought” in the local Troglodyte language, since sailors would use it as a landmark) of Zabargad or St. John's Island, an island in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt formed of rocks rich in peridot.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.