see also: Opal
  • (British) IPA: /ˈəʊpəl/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈoʊpəl/

opal (plural opals)

  1. (mineral) A mineral consisting, like quartz, of silica, but inferior to quartz in hardness and specific gravity, of the chemical formula SiO2·nH2O.
  2. (biology, genetics, biochemistry) A colloquial name used in molecular biology referring to a particular stop codon sequence, "UGA."
  3. Any of various lycaenid butterflies of the genus Nesolycaena.
Proper noun
  1. A female given name from the precious stone, invented in the nineteenth century.
    • 1985 Alice Munro, The Progress of Love, Chatto&Windus 1987, ISBN 0701131616, page 208:
      Perhaps to console herself for the bad luck she had already suffered, in a back corner of South Sherbrooke Township - or perhaps to make up, ahead of time, for a lack of motherly feelings - she gave the girls the fanciest names she could think of: Opal Violet, Dawn Rose, and Bonnie Hope.
  2. (Australia) A type of petrol made by British Petroleum designed to be unable to be used for petrol sniffing.[Developed 2005.]
    • 2006, Paul Malone, Taking the ‘Hospital Pass’ – Jane Halton, Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Department Heads Under Howard - Career Paths and Practice, [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=Zi2Q5Dq_lQgC&pg=PA131&dq=%22opal%22+australia+OR+%22petrol+OR+sniffing%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=CnzIT-6IGsSOiAep6-Q0&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22opal%22%20australia%20OR%20%22petrol%20OR%20sniffing%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 131],
      Halton says, for example, that if there are bylaws that prohibit trafficking in fuel in a community where the non-sniffable petrol, Opal, had been introduced it would be the job of the local police to enforce the law. Her department, on the other hand, was dealing with the issue of the availability of Opal.
    • 2007, Terry Carter, Lara Dunston, Perth & Western Australia, Lonely Planet, [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=2IGEQwGLUPQC&pg=PA163&dq=%22opal%22+australia+OR+%22petrol+OR+sniffing%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=soDIT9W1MO2QiQeV-p0S&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22opal%22%20australia%20OR%20%22petrol%20OR%20sniffing%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 163],
      Diesel is available at roughly 300km intervals on the WA side, as is Opal fuel which, at the Warburton and Warakuna roadhouses, can be used instead of unleaded petrol. (Opal is unsniffable, and its provision is one of the measures in place to counteract petrol-sniffing problems in local communities.)
  3. A hamlet in Alberta, Canada
  4. A census-designated place in Virginia
  5. A town in Wyoming

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