Element definitions

ĕl'ə-mənt
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.
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The basic assumptions or principles of a subject.
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The forces that constitute the weather, especially severe or inclement weather.

Outside paint that had been damaged by the elements.

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An environment naturally suited to or associated with an individual.

He is in his element when traveling. The business world is her element.

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The bread and wine of the Eucharist.
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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.

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A fundamental, essential, or irreducible constituent of a composite entity.
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One of four substances, earth, air, fire, or water, formerly regarded as a fundamental constituent of the universe.
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The resistance wire in an electrical appliance such as a heater or an oven.
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A distinct group within a larger community.

The dissident element on campus.

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A member of a set.
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A point, line, or plane.
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A part of a geometric configuration, such as an angle in a triangle.
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The generatrix of a geometric figure.
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Any of the terms in the rectangular array of terms that constitute a matrix or determinant.
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An artificially produced radioactive element with atomic number 113 whose most stable isotope has mass number 284 and a half-life of approximately 0.5 seconds.
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An artificially produced radioactive element with atomic number 114 whose most stable isotope has a mass number of 289 with a half-life of approximately 2.7 seconds. Radioactive decay of all isotopes is chiefly by alpha-particle emission.
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An artificially produced radioactive element with atomic number 115 whose most stable confirmed isotopes have mass numbers of 287 and 288 with half-lives of 32 milliseconds and 87 milliseconds, respectively.
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An artificially produced radioactive element with atomic number 116 whose most stable isotope has a mass number of 293 and a half-life of less than one tenth of a second.
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An artificially produced radioactive element with atomic number 117. Two isotopes with mass numbers of 293 and 294 have been reported, with the lighter, more stable isotope having a half-life of less than 80 milliseconds.
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An artificially produced, superheavy radioactive element with atomic number 118, detected indirectly via decay in 2006. Its most stable isotope has a mass number of 294 and a half-life of less than two milliseconds.
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Any of the four substances (earth, air, fire, and water) formerly believed to constitute all physical matter.
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Any of these four substances thought of as the natural environment of a class of living beings.
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The natural or suitable environment, situation, etc. for a person or thing.
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On certain electric typewriters, a hollow, metal ball with raised letters, symbols, etc. that print as the corresponding keys are depressed.
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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.
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One item of data, as in an array.
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The bread and wine of Communion.
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A subdivision of a unit or formation.
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A component part or quality, often one that is basic or essential.

A good story has an element of suspense.

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A constituent group of a specified kind.

The criminal element in a city.

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A determining factor.
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Any of the data needed or used to make certain calculations, solve a particular problem, etc.
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Any device with terminals at which it can be connected with other electrical devices.
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The wire coil that becomes glowing hot, as in an electric oven.
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An infinitesimal part of any magnitude; differential.
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The point, line, etc. that generates a line, surface, etc.
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A part of a set or configuration, as a side of a triangle or a number in a matrix.
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A substance that cannot be broken down into simpler substances by chemical means. An element is composed of atoms that have the same atomic number, that is, each atom has the same number of protons in its nucleus as all other atoms of that element. Today 117 elements are known, of which 92 are known to occur in nature, while the remainder have only been made with particle accelerators. Eighty-one of the elements have isotopes that are stable. The others, including technetium, promethium, and those with atomic numbers higher than 83, are radioactive.
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A member of a set.
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An artificially produced radioactive element whose most stable isotope has a mass number of 284 and a half-life of slightly less than half a second.
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An artificially produced radioactive element whose most stable isotope has a mass number of 289 and a half-life of approximately 2.7 seconds. Radioactive decay of all isotopes is chiefly by alpha-particle transmission.
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An artificially produced radioactive element whose most stable confirmed isotopes have mass numbers of 287 and 288 and half-lives of less than one second.
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An artificially produced radioactive element whose most stable isotope has a mass number of 293 and a half-life of less than one-tenth of a second.
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An artificially produced radioactive element whose most stable confirmed isotopes have mass numbers of 293 and 294, with the lighter, more stable isotope having a half-life of less than 80 milliseconds.
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An artificially produced radioactive element, detected indirectly by decay, whose most stable isotope has a mass number of 294 and a half-life of less than two milliseconds.
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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.

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(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.
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One of the four basic building blocks of matter in theories of ancient philosophers and alchemists: water, earth, fire, and air.
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A small part of the whole.

An element of doubt.

An element of the picture.

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(plural only) Atmospheric forces such as strong winds and rains.
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A place or state of being that an individual or object is better suited towards.

Be in one's own element.

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(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.
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(set theory) One of the objects in a set.
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A group of people within a larger group having a particular common characteristic.

You sometimes find the hooligan element at football matches.

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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.

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(computing) One of the conceptual objects in a markup language, usually represented in text by a matching pair of tags.
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A part of a military force, especially:
  • A ground unit in an air force comparable to a platoon.
  • A unit of an air force equal to two or three aircraft.
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Origin of element

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”)).