• WordNet 3.6
    • n porphyry any igneous rock with crystals embedded in a finer groundmass of minerals
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Porphyry (Geol) A term used somewhat loosely to designate a rock consisting of a fine-grained base (usually feldspathic) through which crystals, as of feldspar or quartz, are disseminated. There are red, purple, and green varieties, which are highly esteemed as marbles.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n porphyry The English form of the Latin word porphyrites, used by the Romans to designate a certain rock having a dark-crimson ground through which are scattered small crystals of feldspar. In Pliny's time this rock, which was quarried in Egypt, was used extensively for architectural and ornamental purposes, and especially for the base or lower part of busts of which the upper part was made of bronze or marble. Later on, a similar stone appears to have been procured from nearer localities, as from the island of Sardinia. To the Italians it became known as porfido rosso antico. Other rocks having a similar structure, commonly called porphyritic, were used in Italy, and designated, in accordance with the predominating color, as porfido nero, porfido verde, etc. In modern times the term porphyry has come to be used as the name of any rock consisting of a very fine grained or microcrystalline ground-mass through which are disseminated distinctly recognizable crystals of some mineral; but the popular use of the word is frequently extended so as to include rocks which are dark-colored, fine-grained, and very hard, and which do not appear to belong either to the marbles or granites, and this is done even when the porphyritic structure is not at all or only very indistinctly marked. The varieties of porphyry are numerous, and their nomenclature by no means definitely established. The most generally accepted are the following: quartz-porphyry, of which the ground-mass consists of an intimate or cryptocrystalline admixture of orthoclase and quartz, in which distinct crystals or large grains of quartz are developed; feldspar, felsitic or felstone porphyry, having a similar base with porphyritically inclosed crystals of feldspar, which is commonly orthoclase; but similar crystals of this mineral are not infrequently found occurring with the quartz in quartz porphyry, so that no very distinct line can be drawn separating the two varieties mentioned. These porphyries are of most frequent occurrence in the Paleozoic rocks, but they are also found in abundance in other Pre-tertiary formations, presenting the characters of a truly eruptive material. See porphyrite, and cut under porphyritic.
    • n porphyry A slab of porphyry, used in alchemy.
    • n porphyry In zoology, a porphyry-moth.
    • n porphyry In ceramics, a hard colored body made by Josiah Wedgwood, in imitation of porphyry.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Porphyry por′fir-i a very hard, variegated rock, of a purple and white colour, used in sculpture (porfido rosso antico): an igneous rock having a ground-mass enclosing crystals of feldspar or quartz
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. porphyre, L. porphyrites, fr. Gr. like purple, fr. purple. See Purple
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Through Fr. and L. from Gr. porphyritesporphyra, purple.


In literature:

The altar and the pulpit rest upon pillars of porphyry.
"Foot-prints of Travel" by Maturin M. Ballou
The colossal Egyptian statues are generally of granite, basalt, porphyry, or sandstone.
"Museum of Antiquity" by L. W. Yaggy
The remains of the former lie in a great sarcophagus worked out of a single piece of Cornish porphyry.
"The History of London" by Walter Besant
After wandering through many marble halls, he came to a huge staircase made of porphyry, leading down to a lovely garden.
"The Yellow Fairy Book" by Leonora Blanche Alleyne Lang
Close to Filarete's central bronze door a round disk of porphyry is sunk in the pavement.
"Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 2" by Francis Marion Crawford
He figgers this sylvanite lies under this porphyry reef, sabe?
"Rimrock Trail" by J. Allan Dunn
The inner surface was red, the earthly red of porphyry, and cracked and scarred by the crumpling.
"Peter the Brazen" by George F. Worts
Also, in immense jars of porphyry and gold, she kept sunshine and storm, to let out when she thought best.
"The Lightning Conductor Discovers America" by C. N. (Charles Norris) Williamson and A. M. (Alice Muriel) Williamson
The whole mound was made up of a disintegrated ledge of porphyry and thousands of dollars were in sight.
"They of the High Trails" by Hamlin Garland
I was certain that she must have read Iamblichus and Porphyry.
"Melomaniacs" by James Huneker

In poetry:

His eyes were hard as porphyry
With looking on cruel lands;
His voice went slipping over me
Like terrible silver hands.
"A Well-Worn Story" by Dorothy Parker
Still from his chair of porphyry gaunt Memnon
strains his lidless eyes
Across the empty land, and cries each yellow
morning unto thee.
"The Sphinx" by Oscar Wilde
'Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The fire-fly wakens: wake thou with me.
"from 'The Princess'" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font;
The firefly wakens, waken thou with me.
"Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Velvet swatches our lissome limbs
Languid lapped by sky & sea
Soul through sense & spirit swims
Through the pregnant porphyry
Dome of lapiz-lazuli:-
Heart of silence, hush our hymns.
"Lyric of Love to Leah" by Aleister Crowley
From Venice, while the moonlight falls
Brightest o'er her porphyry halls,
Gilding with unearthly ray,
Dome and column, worn and grey,
Till, as in a fairy dream,
Prouder, statelier, they seem
"Gondolier's Song: In An Unfinished Mask" by Sir John Hanmer

In news:

For creating attractive sidewalks, plazas, and other pavements, POM ( porphyry -on-mesh) paving systems deliver quality cobble pavements without the need for a master mason.
For creating attractive sidewalks, plazas, and other pavements, POM (porphyry-on- mesh ) paving systems deliver quality cobble pavements without the need for a master mason.