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See also: Apatite



Samples of apatite from Madagascar, Canada, and Afghanistan.

From international scientific vocabulary, from German Apatit (apatite). Apatit was coined by the German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749–1817), as follows: Ancient Greek ᾰ̓πᾰ́τη (apátē, deceit, fraud) (as it is often mistaken for other minerals) + German -it (suffix forming nouns denoting minerals or rocks; cognate with English -ite);[1] the German word was first used in a 1786 book.[2][3] Regarding minerals that were named for being deceptive and thus confused with others, compare also fool's gold.



apatite (countable and uncountable, plural apatites)

  1. (mineralogy) A calcium fluoride phosphate of variable composition, sometimes used in the manufacture of fertilizer, as a gemstone, and (in powdered form) as a pigment, and also produced biologically in bones and teeth.
    • 1967, Duncan McConnell et al., “Infrared Absorption of Carbonate Apatite”, in Science, volume 155, number 3762 (New Series), Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 608:
      We had prepared, by precipitation methods, finely divided crystalline apatites that were similar in crystal size and x-ray diffraction profile to bone apatite.

Usage notes[edit]

Not to be confused with appetite.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ A[braham] G[ottlob] Werner (1788), “Geschichte, Karakteristik, und kurze chemische Untersuchung des Apatits [History, Characteristics, and Brief Chemical Investigation of Apatite]”, in Bergmännisches Journal [Miners’ Journal], volume I, Freyberg: Alexander Bilhelm Köhler; Grazischen Buchhandlung, →OCLC, pages 84–85:
    Ich wies hierauf diesem Foßile, als einer eigenen Gattung, sogleich eine Stelle in dem Kalkgeschlechte an; und ertheilte ihm, – weil es bisher alle Mineralogen in seiner Bestimmung irre geführt hatte, – den Namen Apatit, den ich von dem griechischen Worte απατάω (decipio) bildete, und welcher so viel as Trügling sagt.
    I then immediately assigned to this fossil [i.e., material obtained from underground], as a separate type, a place in the lime lineage; and conferred on it, — because it had previously led astray all mineralogists in its classification — the name apatite, which I formed from the Greek word απατάω (I deceive), and which says as much as [the word] deceiver.
  2. ^ Carl Abraham Gerhard (1786), “Erster Anhang [First Addendum]”, in Grundriß des Mineralsystems zu Vorlesungen [Outline of the Mineral Systems for Lectures], Berlin: Christian Friedrich Himburg, →OCLC, page 281: “Von einigen noch nicht genau bestimmten und ganz neu entdeckten Mineralien. Ich rechne hierzu folgende drei Körper: 1. Den Apatit des Herrn Werners. [] [On some still not precisely determined and quite recently discovered minerals. I count among these the following three substances: 1. the apatite of Mr. Werner. []]”
  3. ^ Compare “apatite, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2018; “apatite, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]



  • IPA(key): /a.paˈti.te/
  • Rhymes: -ite
  • Hyphenation: a‧pa‧tì‧te


apatite f (plural apatiti)

  1. (mineralogy) apatite

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • apatite in Treccani.it – Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana