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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 ἀδάμας, ἀδάμαντος (adamas, adamantos), meaning "untameable". Adamantite and adamantium (a metallic name derived from the Neo-Latin ending -ium) are also common variants.
Adamantine has, throughout ancient history, 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.
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.
- In Greek mythology, Cronus castrated his father Uranus using an adamant sickle given to him by his mother Gaia. An adamantine sickle or sword was also used by the hero Perseus to decapitate the Gorgon Medusa while she slept.
- In the Greek tragedy Prometheus Bound (translated by G. M. Cookson), Hephaestus is to bind Prometheus "to the jagged rocks in adamantine bonds infrangible".
- In John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, adamant or adamantine is mentioned eight times. First in Book 1, Satan is hurled "to bottomless perdition, there to dwell in adamantine chains and penal fire" (lines 47–48). Three times in Book 2 the gates of hell are described as being made of adamantine (lines 436, 646 and 853). In Book 6, Satan "Came towring [sic], armd [sic] in Adamant and Gold" (line 110), his shield is described as "of tenfold adamant" (line 255), and the armor worn by the fallen angels is described as "adamantine" (line 542). Finally in book 10 the metaphorical "Pinns [sic] of Adamant and Chains" (lines 318–319) bind the world to Satan, and thus to sin and death
- In some versions of the Alexander Romance, Alexander the Great builds walls of Adamantine, the Gates of Alexander, to keep the giants Gog and Magog from pillaging the peaceful southern lands.
- In The Divine Comedy by Dante, completed 1320, the angel at purgatory's gate sits on adamant.
- In the Medieval epic poem The Faerie Queene, published 1590, Sir Artegal's sword is made of Adamant.
- In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595/96), Helena says to Demetrius, "You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant!".
- In the Holy Sonnet I, published 1620, John Donne states in line 14, "And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart".
- In the 1726 novel Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, the base of the fictitious flying island of Laputa (Part III of Gulliver's Travels) is made of Adamant.
- In Princess Ida by Gilbert and Sullivan, first performed 1884, the hardnosed princess's castle is called Castle Adamant.
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium (The Lord of the Rings published in 1954-5), Nenya, one of the Three Rings of Power, is set with a gem of adamant.
- In Marvel Comics, adamantium (first appearance: Avengers #66, July 1969) is a nearly indestructible metal that coats the skeleton of the superhero Wolverine and makes up the body of the supervillain Ultron.
- In the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons, Adamantine is an extremely hard exotic metal. Adamantine weapons can easily deal damage to golems and tough inanimate objects.
- In the MMORPG game RuneScape, Adamantite is a durable metal used for armor and weapons.
- In the multi-platform game Terraria, Adamantite is a material used to craft several tools and furniture.
- Adamant (1811 ship)
- Adam Ant, musician
- adamant, a noun defined at Wiktionary
- Adamant, Vermont, a village in Washington County, Vermont, US
- Adamantane, a bulky hydrocarbon
- Adamantine, a real mineral
- adamantine, an adjective defined at Wiktionary
- Aggregated diamond nanorods, ultrahard, nanocrystalline form of diamond
- Unobtainium, a name given to exotic, fictional materials used in science fiction
- Adamantina, a Brazilian municipality in the state of São Paulo.
- Webster's dictionary definition of adamant Archived June 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, 1828 and 1913 editions
- Hesiod; Richard S. Calwell (1987). Hesiod's Theogony. Cambridge, Ma: Focus Information Group. pp. 37–38 at lines 161–181. ISBN 9780941051002.
Quick she [Gaia] made the element of grey adamant, made a great sickle...
- John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book one, two, six, and ten (1667). (see text from Project Gutenberg)
- "Adamantite Bar". Terraria Wiki. Retrieved 2018-03-05.