Etymology
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gneiss (n.)

type of metamorphic rock, 1757, kneiss, from German Gneiss (16c.), which is probably from Middle High German gneist "spark" (so called because the rock glitters), from Old High German gneisto "spark" (compare Old English gnast "spark," Old Norse gneisti). Related: Gneissic.

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Definitions of gneiss

gneiss (n.)
a laminated metamorphic rock similar to granite;
From wordnet.princeton.edu