There are 2 main definitions of gem in English:


Syllabification: gem


1A precious or semiprecious stone, especially when cut and polished or engraved.
More example sentences
  • These ornaments are made in silver, and precious and semi-precious gems are used to embellish them.
  • On display are approximately two hundred examples of semiprecious and precious gems, decorative stones, and outstanding pieces of jewelry.
  • Members were instructed in the various settings of precious stones and gems.
jewel, gemstone, stone, precious stone, semiprecious stone;
solitaire, cabochon
archaic bijou
1.1A person or thing considered to be outstandingly good or special in some respect: this architectural gem of a palace
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Now you can find all of these wonderful pop gems living in a different world.
  • 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.
best, finest, pride, prize, treasure, flower, pearl, jewel in the crown;
pick, choice, cream, the crème de la crème, elite, acme
informal one in a million, bee's knees
1.2Used in names of some brilliantly colored hummingbirds, e.g., mountain gem.

verb (gems, gemming, gemmed)

[with object] (usually as adjective gemmed) rare Back to top  
Decorate with or as with gems.
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.


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



More example sentences
  • Its 14 gem-like songs remain true to the deepest traditions of fado, the breathtakingly lyrical and melancholic music of Portugal.
  • Set, gem-like, between the mountains and the sea, Cape Town is a spectacular city.
  • Rob stared, in awe, his eyes large and glassy and gem-like.

Definition of gem in: