Metal is a shiny, hard, solid material, such as iron or aluminum. If, when you smile, you flash a brilliant metal grin, it's probably because of your braces.

The Greek root metallon originally meant quarry or mine, and later came to also mean metal. Silver jewelry is made of metal, and so are things like car engines and tin cans. The genre of rock music popularly known as metal gets its name from the heavy sound, especially of the guitar solo, played on electric guitars — made of metal.

Definitions of metal

n any of several chemical elements that are usually shiny solids that conduct heat or electricity and can be formed into sheets etc.

metallic element
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heavy metal
a metal of relatively high density (specific gravity greater than about 5) or of high relative atomic weight (especially one that is poisonous like mercury or lead)
base metal
a metal that is common and not considered precious
noble metal
any metal that is resistant to corrosion or oxidation
Al, aluminium, aluminum, atomic number 13
a silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite
Am, americium, atomic number 95
a radioactive transuranic metallic element; discovered by bombarding uranium with helium atoms
Sb, antimony, atomic number 51
a metallic element having four allotropic forms; used in a wide variety of alloys; found in stibnite
Ba, atomic number 56, barium
a soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group; found in barite
Bk, atomic number 97, berkelium
a radioactive transuranic element; discovered by bombarding americium with helium
Be, atomic number 4, beryllium, glucinium
a light strong brittle grey toxic bivalent metallic element
Bi, atomic number 83, bismuth
a heavy brittle diamagnetic trivalent metallic element (resembles arsenic and antimony chemically); usually recovered as a by-product from ores of other metals
Cd, atomic number 48, cadmium
a soft bluish-white ductile malleable toxic bivalent metallic element; occurs in association with zinc ores
Ca, atomic number 20, calcium
a white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light; the fifth most abundant element in the earth's crust; an important component of most plants and animals
Cf, atomic number 98, californium
a radioactive transuranic element; discovered by bombarding curium with alpha particles
Ce, atomic number 58, cerium
a ductile grey metallic element of the lanthanide series; used in lighter flints; the most abundant of the rare-earth group
Cs, atomic number 55, caesium, cesium
a soft silver-white ductile metallic element (liquid at normal temperatures); the most electropositive and alkaline metal
Cr, atomic number 24, chromium
a hard brittle multivalent metallic element; resistant to corrosion and tarnishing
Co, atomic number 27, cobalt
a hard ferromagnetic silver-white bivalent or trivalent metallic element; a trace element in plant and animal nutrition
Cu, atomic number 29, copper
a ductile malleable reddish-brown corrosion-resistant diamagnetic metallic element; occurs in various minerals but is the only metal that occurs abundantly in large masses; used as an electrical and thermal conductor
Cm, atomic number 96, curium
a radioactive transuranic metallic element; produced by bombarding plutonium with helium nuclei
Dy, atomic number 66, dysprosium
a trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group; forms compounds that are highly magnetic
E, Es, atomic number 99, einsteinium
a radioactive transuranic element produced by bombarding plutonium with neutrons
Er, atomic number 68, erbium
a trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group; occurs with yttrium
Eu, atomic number 63, europium
a bivalent and trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group
Fm, atomic number 100, fermium
a radioactive transuranic metallic element produced by bombarding plutonium with neutrons
Fr, atomic number 87, francium
a radioactive element of the alkali-metal group discovered as a disintegration product of actinium
Gd, atomic number 64, gadolinium
a ductile silvery-white ductile ferromagnetic trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group
Ga, atomic number 31, gallium
a rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element; brittle at low temperatures but liquid above room temperature; occurs in trace amounts in bauxite and zinc ores
Hf, atomic number 72, hafnium
a grey tetravalent metallic element that resembles zirconium chemically and is found in zirconium minerals; used in filaments for its ready emission of electrons
Ho, atomic number 67, holmium
a trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group; occurs together with yttrium; forms highly magnetic compounds
In, atomic number 49, indium
a rare soft silvery metallic element; occurs in small quantities in sphalerite
Ir, atomic number 77, iridium
a heavy brittle metallic element of the platinum group; used in alloys; occurs in natural alloys with platinum or osmium
Fe, atomic number 26, iron
a heavy ductile magnetic metallic element; is silver-white in pure form but readily rusts; used in construction and tools and armament; plays a role in the transport of oxygen by the blood
La, atomic number 57, lanthanum
a white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily; occurs in rare earth minerals and is usually classified as a rare earth
Pb, atomic number 82, lead
a soft heavy toxic malleable metallic element; bluish white when freshly cut but tarnishes readily to dull grey
Li, atomic number 3, lithium
a soft silver-white univalent element of the alkali metal group; the lightest metal known; occurs in several minerals
Lu, atomic number 71, lutecium, lutetium
a trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group; usually occurs in association with yttrium
Mg, atomic number 12, magnesium
a light silver-white ductile bivalent metallic element; in pure form it burns with brilliant white flame; occurs naturally only in combination (as in magnesite and dolomite and carnallite and spinel and olivine)
Mn, atomic number 25, manganese
a hard brittle grey polyvalent metallic element that resembles iron but is not magnetic; used in making steel; occurs in many minerals
Hg, atomic number 80, hydrargyrum, mercury, quicksilver
a heavy silvery toxic univalent and bivalent metallic element; the only metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures
Mo, atomic number 42, molybdenum
a polyvalent metallic element that resembles chromium and tungsten in its properties; used to strengthen and harden steel
Nd, atomic number 60, neodymium
a yellow trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group; occurs in monazite and bastnasite in association with cerium and lanthanum and praseodymium
Np, atomic number 93, neptunium
a radioactive transuranic metallic element; found in trace amounts in uranium ores; a by-product of the production of plutonium
Ni, atomic number 28, nickel
a hard malleable ductile silvery metallic element that is resistant to corrosion; used in alloys; occurs in pentlandite and smaltite and garnierite and millerite
Nb, atomic number 41, niobium
a soft grey ductile metallic element used in alloys; occurs in niobite; formerly called columbium
Os, atomic number 76, osmium
a hard brittle blue-grey or blue-black metallic element that is one of the platinum metals; the heaviest metal known
Pd, atomic number 46, palladium
a silver-white metallic element of the platinum group that resembles platinum; occurs in some copper and nickel ores; does not tarnish at ordinary temperatures and is used (alloyed with gold) in jewelry
Po, atomic number 84, polonium
a radioactive metallic element that is similar to tellurium and bismuth; occurs in uranium ores but can be produced by bombarding bismuth with neutrons in a nuclear reactor
K, atomic number 19, potassium
a light soft silver-white metallic element of the alkali metal group; oxidizes rapidly in air and reacts violently with water; is abundant in nature in combined forms occurring in sea water and in carnallite and kainite and sylvite
Pr, atomic number 59, praseodymium
a soft yellowish-white trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group; can be recovered from bastnasite or monazite by an ion-exchange process
Pm, atomic number 61, promethium
a soft silvery metallic element of the rare earth group having no stable isotope; was discovered in radioactive form as a fission product of uranium
Pa, atomic number 91, protactinium, protoactinium
a short-lived radioactive metallic element formed from uranium and disintegrating into actinium and then into lead
Ra, atomic number 88, radium
an intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores
Re, atomic number 75, rhenium
a rare heavy polyvalent metallic element that resembles manganese chemically and is used in some alloys; is obtained as a by-product in refining molybdenum
Rh, atomic number 45, rhodium
a white hard metallic element that is one of the platinum group and is found in platinum ores; used in alloys with platinum
Rb, atomic number 37, rubidium
a soft silvery metallic element of the alkali metal group; burns in air and reacts violently in water; occurs in carnallite and lepidolite and pollucite
Ru, atomic number 44, ruthenium
a rare polyvalent metallic element of the platinum group; it is found associated with platinum
Sm, atomic number 62, samarium
a grey lustrous metallic element of the rare earth group; is used in special alloys; occurs in monazite and bastnasite
Sc, atomic number 21, scandium
a white trivalent metallic element; sometimes classified in the rare earth group; occurs in the Scandinavian mineral thortveitite
Na, atomic number 11, sodium
a silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group; occurs abundantly in natural compounds (especially in salt water); burns with a yellow flame and reacts violently in water; occurs in sea water and in the mineral halite (rock salt)
Sr, atomic number 38, strontium
a soft silver-white or yellowish metallic element of the alkali metal group; turns yellow in air; occurs in celestite and strontianite
Ta, atomic number 73, tantalum
a hard grey lustrous metallic element that is highly resistant to corrosion; occurs in niobite and fergusonite and tantalite
Tc, atomic number 43, technetium
a crystalline metallic element not found in nature; occurs as one of the fission products of uranium
Tb, atomic number 65, terbium
a metallic element of the rare earth group; used in lasers; occurs in apatite and monazite and xenotime and ytterbite
Tl, atomic number 81, thallium
a soft grey malleable metallic element that resembles tin but discolors on exposure to air; it is highly toxic and is used in rodent and insect poisons; occurs in zinc blende and some iron ores
Th, atomic number 90, thorium
a soft silvery-white tetravalent radioactive metallic element; isotope 232 is used as a power source in nuclear reactors; occurs in thorite and in monazite sands
Tm, atomic number 69, thulium
a soft silvery metallic element of the rare earth group; isotope 170 emits X-rays and is used in small portable X-ray machines; it occurs in monazite and apatite and xenotime
Sn, atomic number 50, tin
a silvery malleable metallic element that resists corrosion; used in many alloys and to coat other metals to prevent corrosion; obtained chiefly from cassiterite where it occurs as tin oxide
Ti, atomic number 22, titanium
a light strong grey lustrous corrosion-resistant metallic element used in strong lightweight alloys (as for airplane parts); the main sources are rutile and ilmenite
W, atomic number 74, tungsten, wolfram
a heavy grey-white metallic element; the pure form is used mainly in electrical applications; it is found in several ores including wolframite and scheelite
U, atomic number 92, uranium
a heavy toxic silvery-white radioactive metallic element; occurs in many isotopes; used for nuclear fuels and nuclear weapons
V, atomic number 23, vanadium
a soft silvery white toxic metallic element used in steel alloys; it occurs in several complex minerals including carnotite and vanadinite
Yb, atomic number 70, ytterbium
a soft silvery metallic element; a rare earth of the lanthanide series; it occurs in gadolinite and monazite and xenotime
Y, atomic number 39, yttrium
a silvery metallic element that is common in rare-earth minerals; used in magnesium and aluminum alloys
Zn, atomic number 30, zinc
a bluish-white lustrous metallic element; brittle at ordinary temperatures but malleable when heated; used in a wide variety of alloys and in galvanizing iron; it occurs naturally as zinc sulphide in zinc blende
Zr, atomic number 40, zirconium
a lustrous grey strong metallic element resembling titanium; it is used in nuclear reactors as a neutron absorber; it occurs in baddeleyite but is obtained chiefly from zircon
alkali metal, alkaline metal
any of the monovalent metals of group I of the periodic table (lithium or sodium or potassium or rubidium or cesium or francium)
alkaline earth, alkaline-earth metal
any of the bivalent metals of group II of the periodic table (calcium or strontium or barium or magnesium or beryllium)
alum, potash alum, potassium alum
a white crystalline double sulfate of aluminum: the potassium double sulfate of aluminum
alum, ammonia alum, ammonium alum
a white crystalline double sulfate of aluminum: the ammonium double sulfate of aluminum
any of several compounds of barium
cesium 137
a radioactive isotope of cesium used in radiation therapy
cobalt 60
a radioactive isotope of cobalt with mass number 60; a source of exceptionally intense gamma rays; used in radiation therapy
Au, atomic number 79, gold
a soft yellow malleable ductile (trivalent and univalent) metallic element; occurs mainly as nuggets in rocks and alluvial deposits; does not react with most chemicals but is attacked by chlorine and aqua regia
a former name for niobium
Pt, atomic number 78, platinum
a heavy precious metallic element; grey-white and resistant to corroding; occurs in some nickel and copper ores and is also found native in some deposits
Ag, atomic number 47, silver
a soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal; occurs in argentite and in free form; used in coins and jewelry and tableware and photography
strontium 90
a radioactive isotope of strontium (with the mass number 90) that is present in the fallout from nuclear explosions; can be assimilated like calcium into bones
radiothorium, thorium-228
radioactive isotope of thorium with mass number 228
uranium 235
a uranium isotope with mass number 235; capable of sustaining chain reactions
uranium 238
the commonest isotope of uranium; it is not fissionable but when irradiated with neutrons it produces fissionable plutonium 239
alpha iron
a magnetic allotrope of iron; stable below 906 degrees centigrade
beta iron
an allotrope of iron that is the same as alpha iron except that it is nonmagnetic; stable between 768 and 906 degrees centigrade
gamma iron
a nonmagnetic allotrope of iron that is the basis of austenite; stable between 906 and 1403 degrees centigrade
delta iron
an allotrope of iron that is stable between 1403 degrees centigrade and the melting point (= 1532 degrees)
blister copper
an impure form of copper having a black blistered surface
ingot iron
iron of high purity
cast iron
an alloy of iron containing so much carbon that it is brittle and so cannot be wrought but must be shaped by casting
wrought iron
iron having a low carbon content that is tough and malleable and so can be forged and welded
another word for chromium when it is used in dyes or pigments
galvanized iron
iron that is coated with zinc to protect it from rust
hard lead
unrefined lead that is hard because of the impurities it contains
antimonial lead, hard lead
a lead alloy that contains about 5% antimony
pig iron
crude iron tapped from a blast furnace
pig lead
lead that is cast in pigs
scrap iron
iron to be melted again and reworked
impure zinc containing about three percent lead and other impurities (especially in the form of ingots)
structural iron
iron that has been cast or worked in structural shapes
calcium ion, factor IV
ion of calcium; a factor in the clotting of blood
Type of:
chemical element, element
any of the more than 100 known substances (of which 92 occur naturally) that cannot be separated into simpler substances and that singly or in combination constitute all matter

n a mixture containing two or more metallic elements or metallic and nonmetallic elements usually fused together or dissolving into each other when molten

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heavy metal
a metal of relatively high density (specific gravity greater than about 5) or of high relative atomic weight (especially one that is poisonous like mercury or lead)
18-karat gold
an alloy that contains 75 per cent gold
22-karat gold
an alloy that contains 87 per cent gold
oreide, oroide
alloy of copper and tin and zinc; used in imitation gold jewelry
trade name for an alloy used to make high-energy permanent magnets; contains aluminum and iron and nickel plus cobalt or copper or titanium
amalgam, dental amalgam
an alloy of mercury with another metal (usually silver) used by dentists to fill cavities in teeth; except for iron and platinum all metals dissolve in mercury and chemists refer to the resulting mercury mixtures as amalgams
fusible metal
an alloy with a low melting point and used as solder and in safety plugs and sprinkler fuses
an alloy of gold and silver
any of various alloys of tin with small amounts of other metals (especially lead)
an alloy of copper and zinc that is used in cheap jewelry to imitate gold
pot metal
an alloy of copper and lead used especially for making large pots
an alloy (usually of lead and tin) used when melted to join two metal surfaces
white gold
a pale alloy of gold usually with platinum or nickel or palladium
type metal
an alloy of tin and lead and antimony used to make printing type
bearing metal, white metal
an alloy (often of lead or tin base) used for bearings
Babbitt metal, babbitt
an alloy of tin with some copper and antimony; a lining for bearings that reduces friction
Britannia metal
an alloy similar to pewter
an alloy based on tungsten with cobalt or nickel as a binder; used in making metal-cutting tools
an alloy of iron with small amounts of carbon; widely used in construction; mechanical properties can be varied over a wide range
cheoplastic metal
any alloy that fuses at low temperatures and can be used molding artificial teeth
copper-base alloy
any alloy whose principal component is copper
dental gold
an alloy of gold used in dentistry
an aluminum-based alloy
a nickel-base alloy with chromium and iron; used in gas-turbine blades
an alloy of iron and nickel having a low coefficient of thermal expansion; used in tuning forks and measuring tapes and other instruments
nickel alloy, nickel-base alloy
an alloy whose main constituent is nickel
German silver, nickel silver
a silver-white alloy containing copper and zinc and nickel
pyrophoric alloy
an alloy that emits sparks when struck or scratched with steel; used in lighter flints
shot metal
an alloy that is 98% lead and 2% arsenic; used in making small shot
a very hard alloy of cobalt and chromium with cobalt as the principal ingredient; used to make cutting tools and for surfaces subject to heavy wear
sterling silver
a silver alloy with no more than 7.5% copper
tambac, tombac, tombak
an alloy of copper and zinc (and sometimes arsenic) used to imitate gold in cheap jewelry and for gilding
Wood's alloy, Wood's metal
a fusible alloy that is half bismuth plus lead, tin, and cadmium; melts at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit
slug, type slug
a strip of type metal used for spacing
alloy steel
steel who characteristics are determined by the addition of other elements in addition to carbon
an alloy of copper and zinc
an alloy of copper and tin and sometimes other elements; also any copper-base alloy containing other elements in place of tin
a 60/40 alloy of copper and nickel
hard solder
solder that contains copper; melts at a relatively high temperature; used for brazing
silver solder
a solder that contains silver
soft solder
solder that melts at a relatively low temperature
Monel metal, Monell metal
an alloy of nickel and copper and other metals (such as iron and/or manganese and/or aluminum)
aluminium bronze, aluminum bronze
an alloy of copper and aluminum with high tensile strength and resistance to corrosion
austenitic steel
steel that has enough nickel and chromium or manganese to retain austenite at atmospheric temperatures
case-hardened steel
steel with a surface that is much harder than the interior metal
carbon steel
steel whose characteristics are determined by the amount of carbon it contains
crucible steel
steel made by the mixture of molten wrought iron, charcoal, and other substances in a crucible
Damascus steel, Damask steel
a hard resilient steel often decorated and used for sword blades
chisel steel
steel used in making chisels
Eureka, constantan
an alloy of copper and nickel with high electrical resistance and a low temperature coefficient; used as resistance wire
a pyrophoric alloy of iron with cerium; used for lighter flints
hard steel
steel with more than 0.3% carbon
medium steel
steel with 0.15-0.3% carbon
low-carbon steel, mild steel, soft-cast steel
steel with less than 0.15% carbon
misch metal
a pyrophoric alloy made from a mixture of rare-earth metals
an alloy of nickel and chromium with high electrical resistance and an ability to withstand high temperatures; used for resistance heating elements
an 80/20 alloy of nickel and iron; easily magnetized and demagnetized
quenched steel
steel that has been hardened by immersing it in water or oil to cool it
structural steel
a strong steel that is rolled into shapes that are used in construction
Type of:
(chemistry) a substance consisting of two or more substances mixed together (not in fixed proportions and not with chemical bonding)

adj containing or made of or resembling or characteristic of a metal

consisting completely of metal
containing alum or aluminum
containing antimony
containing or yielding silver
auriferous, gold-bearing
containing gold
bimetal, bimetallic
formed of two different metals or alloys; especially in sheets bonded together
made from or consisting of bronze
gilded, gold, golden
made from or covered with gold
metal-looking, metallic-looking, metallike
resembling metal
made from or largely consisting of silver
thin and metallic in sound; lacking resonance
nonmetal, nonmetallic
not containing or resembling or characteristic of a metal
of or being a nonmetallic element that has some of the properties of metal
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v cover with metal

Type of:
coat, surface
put a coat on; cover the surface of; furnish with a surface

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