Definition of phenocryst in English:


Line breaks: pheno|cryst
Pronunciation: /ˈfiːnə(ʊ)krɪst
, ˈfɛnə(ʊ)krɪst


  • A large or conspicuous crystal in a porphyritic rock, distinct from the groundmass.
    More example sentences
    • Pyroxene mineralogy evolves along two paths with near end-member hedenbergite phenocrysts in the groundmass and aegirine solid solution in miaroles.
    • Bulk tephra can include phenocrysts or xenocrysts, lithic fragments and other inclusions, the proportions of which may vary across the fallout area, making accurate correlation difficult.
    • The majority of the rhyolites are porphyritic and contain phenocrysts of one or more of the following: plagioclase, clinopyroxene, magnetite, quartz and sanidine, plus accessory apatite and zircon.


late 19th century: from French phénocryste, from Greek phainein 'to show' + krustallos 'crystal'.

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a small amount; a little