From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


(Science: chemistry) A name given to a number of common sulphur-containing metallic minerals, sulphides of iron, copper, cobalt, nickel, and tin, of a white or yellowish colour.

The term was originally applied to the mineral pyrite, or iron pyrites, in allusion to its giving sparks when struck with steel. Arsenical pyrites, arsenopyrite. Auriferous pyrites. See Auriferous. Capillary pyrites, millerite. Common pyrites, isometric iron disulphide; pyrite. Hair pyrites, millerite. Iron pyrites. Magnetic pyrites, pyrrhotite. Tin pyrites, stannite. White iron pyrites, orthorhombic iron disulphide; marcasite.

This includes cockscomb pyrites (a variety of marcasite, named in allusion to its form), spear pyrites, etc. Yellow, or copper, pyrites, the sulphide of copper and iron; chalcopyrite.

Origin: L, fr. Gr, fr. Fire. See Pyre.