Amber vs ember

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Amber and ember are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. We will look at the definitions of amber and ember, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Amber is a particular type of fossil, composed of tree resin. Amber occurs in a range of colors including, yellow, brown, green, black and blue. By far, yellow and brown are the most common colors of amber. Blue is the rarest color of amber and only accounts for two-tenths of one percent of recovered amber. The word amber is also used to mean a color that is a light honey-brown. In addition, the yellow light on a traffic signal is properly referred to as the amber light. The word amber is derived from the word ambergris, which is a substance exuded by sperm whales and is used in the manufacture of expensive perfume. Both ambergris and amber are frequently found along seashores.

An ember is a live coal, a small bit of wood, charcoal or other substance that still burns when the flames of a fire have gone out. Embers are the burning part of a fire that remains as a fire is dying down. Ember is sometimes used metaphorically to refer to the last, dying remains of a once-robust situation or institution.  The word ember is derived from the Old English word «£myrge.


His recommendation, folded into House Bill 2650, would make limestone the official rock, galena the official mineral and jelinite amber the official gemstone. (The Topeka Capitol-Journal)

Ruby or sapphire drapes would look luxurious against light gray walls, she said, while amethyst and amber pop against beige and cream walls. (The Omaha World-Herald)

Those embers found new life and allegedly consumed the structure, before high winds spread the blaze to a nearby home. (The Fergus Falls Daily Journal)

Embers from burning leaves ignited a grassfire and an old school house south of Garfield Wednesday, April 25. (The Alexandria Echo Press)