- The definition of an element is one of the substances that constitute all physical matter - wind, air, fire or water, or a natural environment.
- An example of an element is the fire that cooks the food on a gas range stove.
- An example of an element is a neighborhood; living in your element.
Fire is an element.
- any of the four substances (earth, air, fire, and water) formerly believed to constitute all physical matter
- any of these four substances thought of as the natural environment of a class of living beings
- the natural or suitable environment, situation, etc. for a person or thingoften in the phrase in (or out of) one's element
- a component part or quality, often one that is basic or essential: a good story has an element of suspense
- a constituent group of a specified kind: the criminal element in a city
- a determining factor
- any of the data needed or used to make certain calculations, solve a particular problem, etc.
- on certain electric typewriters, a hollow, metal ball with raised letters, symbols, etc. that print as the corresponding keys are depressed
- Chem. any substance that cannot be separated into different substances by ordinary chemical methods: all matter is composed of such substances: elements can be transformed into other elements by radioactive decay or by nuclear reactions
- Comput. one item of data, as in an array (sense )
- Eccles. the bread and wine of Communion
- any device with terminals at which it can be connected with other electrical devices
- the wire coil that becomes glowing hot, as in an electric oven
- an infinitesimal part of any magnitude; differential
- the point, line, etc. that generates a line, surface, etc.
- a part of a set or configuration, as a side of a triangle or a number in a matrix
- Mil. a subdivision of a unit or formation
Origin of elementMiddle English ; from Old French ; from Classical Latin elementum, first principle, element
- the first or basic principles; rudiments
- wind, rain, and the other forces of nature that make the weather
- A fundamental, essential, or irreducible constituent of a composite entity.
- elements The basic assumptions or principles of a subject.
- Mathematics a. A member of a set.b. A point, line, or plane.c. A part of a geometric configuration, such as an angle in a triangle.d. The generatrix of a geometric figure.e. Any of the terms in the rectangular array of terms that constitute a matrix or determinant.
- Chemistry & Physics A substance composed of atoms having an identical number of protons in each nucleus. Elements cannot be reduced to simpler substances by normal chemical means. See Periodic Table (pages 131X–131X).
- One of four substances, earth, air, fire, or water, formerly regarded as a fundamental constituent of the universe.
- Electricity The resistance wire in an electrical appliance such as a heater or an oven.
- elements The forces that constitute the weather, especially severe or inclement weather: outside paint that had been damaged by the elements.
- An environment naturally suited to or associated with an individual: He is in his element when traveling. The business world is her element.
- A distinct group within a larger community: the dissident element on campus.
- A part of a military force, especially:a. A ground unit in an air force comparable to a platoon.b. A unit of an air force equal to two or three aircraft.
- elements The bread and wine of the Eucharist.
Origin of elementMiddle English, from Old French, from Latin elementum, perhaps ultimately from lmn, first three letters of the second half of the Canaanite alphabet, recited by ancient scribes when learning it.
- One of the simplest or essential parts or principles of which anything consists, or upon which the constitution or fundamental powers of anything are based.
- Letters are the elements of written language.
- (chemistry) Any one of the simplest chemical substances that cannot be decomposed in a chemical reaction or by any chemical means and made up of atoms all having the same number of protons.
- One of the four basic building blocks of matter in theories of ancient philosophers and alchemists: water, earth, fire, and air
- A small part of the whole.
- an element of doubt
- an element of the picture
- (plural only) Atmospheric forces such as strong winds and rains.
- A place or state of being that an individual or object is better suited towards.
- be in one's own element
- (law) A required aspect or component of a cause of action. A deed is regarded a violation of law only if each element can be proved.
- (set theory) One of the objects in a set.
- A group of people within a larger group having a particular common characteristic.
- You sometimes find the hooligan element at football matches.
- A short form of heating element, a component in electrical equipment, often in the form of a coil, having a high resistance, thereby generating heat when a current is passed through it.
- The element in this electric kettle can heat the water in under a minute.
- (computing) One of the conceptual objects in a markup language, usually represented in text by a matching pair of tags.
From Middle English element, from Old French element, from Latin elementum (“a first principle, element, rudiment”); origin uncertain. Perhaps ultimately from L M N, first three letters of the second half of the Canaanite alphabet, recited by ancient scribes when learning it (in sense compare English ABC(s) (“fundamentals”)).