AskDefine | Define adamant

Dictionary Definition

adamant adj : not capable of being swayed or diverted from a course; unsusceptible to persuasion; "he is adamant in his refusal to change his mind"; "Cynthia was inexorable; she would have none of him"- W.Churchill; "an intransigent conservative opposed to every liberal tendancy" [syn: adamantine, inexorable, intransigent] n : very hard native crystalline carbon valued as a gem [syn: diamond]

User Contributed Dictionary



From adamantem, accusative singular form of adamas "hard as steel", from < (adamas) "invincible", from (a-) "not" + (damazo) "I tame".


  1. resistant to reason; determined; inflexible; unshakeable; unyielding


resistant to reason; determined; inflexible; unshakeable; unyielding


  1. a rock or mineral imagined by some to be of impenetrable hardness; a name given to the diamond and other substances of extreme hardness
  2. an embodiment of impregnable hardness
  3. lodestone; magnet


  • 1956 — Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars, p 34
    Unprotected matter, however adamant, would have been ground to dust ages ago.


Extensive Definition

Adamant and similar words are used to refer to any especially hard substance, whether composed of diamond, some other gemstone, or some type of metal. Both adamant and diamond derive from the Greek word αδαμας (adamas), meaning "untameable". Adamantite and adamantium (a metallic name derived from the Neo-Latin ending -ium) are also common variants.
Throughout ancient history, "adamantine" referred to anything that was made of a very hard material. Virgil describes Tartarus as having a screeching gate protected by columns of solid adamantine (Aeneid book VI). Later, by the Middle Ages, the term came to refer to diamond, as it was the hardest material then known, and remains the hardest non-synthetic material known.
It was in the Middle Ages, too, that adamantine hardness and the lodestone's magnetic properties became confused and combined, leading to an alternate definition in which "adamant" means magnet, falsely derived from the Latin adamare, which means to love or be attached to. Another connection was the belief that adamant (the diamond definition) could block the effects of a magnet. This was addressed in chapter III of Pseudodoxia Epidemica, for instance.
Since the word diamond is now used for the hardest gemstone, the increasingly archaic term "adamant" has a mostly poetic or figurative use. In that capacity, the name is frequently used in popular media and fiction to refer to a very hard substance.

Uses of the term

  • In John Donne's Holy Sonnet I he states in line 14, "And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart."
  • In Norse mythology, Loki is bound underground by adamantine chains. (In some versions, his chains are made from the intestines of his son.)
  • In the Medieval epic poem The Faerie Queene Sir Artagel's sword is made of Adamant.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings it is said in the second verse of Bilbo's Song of Eärendil, regarding the appearance of Eärendil; "Of adamant his helmet tall". At the crowning of King Elessar, it is said that his crown "was adorned with jewels of adamant". Also, Nenya, one of the Three Rings of Power, was described as the Ring of Adamant.
  • In the King James Version of the Bible the word adamant is also used in several verses, including:
    "As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house." (Ezekiel 3:9) Other, later translations substitute the word diamond for adamant.
  • In the Inuyasha dub the name Adamant Barrage is given to the Kongousouha, which is an attack that shoots diamonds at the opponent.
  • In the Marvel Comics' universe, adamantium is a metal alloy which, once forged, is effectively indestructible. The metal is extremely expensive to produce and exceptionally rare. It is typically portrayed within Marvel comic books as used to create weaponry such as bullets used by various covert agencies, a triangular shield used by the vigilante known as Battlestar and the outer skin of some of the robotic bodies of the android Ultron. It is most famously known for being bonded to the skeleton and bone claws of the X-Men character Wolverine.
  • The pop musician S. Goddard has assumed a name which is an obvious play on the word, Atom Ant.
  • As of the Burning Crusade expansion in World of Warcraft, "Adamantite" is the second strongest mineral in the game.
  • In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy Lord Asriel constructs an "adamant" fortress
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost (Book 1), Satan is hurled "to bottomless perdition, there to dwell in adamantine chains and penal fire."
  • In Greek Mythology, the titan Cronos castrated his father Ouranos using an adamant sickle. An adamantine sword (or sickle) was also used by the hero Perseus to decapitate the Gorgon Medusa.
  • In Mohandas K. Gandhi's autobiography, he reflects on the beauty of compromise in deciding not to fight for the right to wear a turban in the Supreme Court of South Africa. He states that "truth is hard as adamant and tender as a blossom".
  • In Princess Ida, by Gilbert and Sullivan, the hardnosed princess's castle is called Castle Adamant.
  • In the MMORPG Runescape adamant, (referred to as "adamantite"), is an ore found in various mining locations in small quantites. Adamant is portrayed as a dark green metal that can be mined and then smithed to make armor and weapons.
  • In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (Part III), a fictitious flying island is made of Adamant and takes on magnetic properties, allowing its hovering ability.
  • In Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom Sawyer's Aunt's resolve becomes "adamantine in its firmness".
  • In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena says to Demetrius, "You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant!"

See also


adamant in German: Adamant
adamant in Galician: Adamantium
adamant in Italian: Adamantino
adamant in Lithuanian: Adamantas
adamant in Dutch: Adamant
adamant in Swedish: Adamant

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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