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[kyoo-puh l, kyoo-pel] /ˈkyu pəl, kyuˈpɛl/
a small, cuplike, porous container, usually made of bone ash, used in assaying, as for separating gold and silver from lead.
a receptacle or furnace bottom in which silver is refined.
verb (used with object), cupeled, cupeling or (especially British) cupelled, cupelling.
to heat or refine in a cupel.
Origin of cupel
1595-1605; < Medieval Latin cūpella, equivalent to Latin cūp(a) tub + -ella diminutive suffix
Related forms
[kyoo-puh-ler] /ˈkyu pə lər/ (Show IPA),
[kyoo-pel-er] /kyuˈpɛl ər/ (Show IPA),
cupellation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cupellation
Historical Examples
  • By cupellation with lead, gold may be deprived of any antimony united with it.

  • Silver is extracted from lead by means of the process of cupellation.

  • To separate this, the process known as "cupellation" is employed.

    The Elements of Blowpipe Analysis Frederick Hutton Getman
  • If this be the case, then cupellation was practised in 2500 B.C.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • The history of cupellation is specially dealt with in note on p. 465.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • These pieces of metal are afterward heated in iron basins and smelted in the cupellation furnace by the smelters.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • By this method the lead contained in the forehearth absorbs the silver, and the silver-lead is taken to the cupellation furnace.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • Very good iron ore is smelted in a furnace almost like the cupellation furnace.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • They both recommend preserving this precipitate and its cupellation after melting with lead—which Agricola apparently overlooked.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • In certain places, as at Freiberg in Meissen, the upper part of the cupellation furnace is vaulted almost like an oven.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
British Dictionary definitions for cupellation


the process of recovering precious metals from lead by melting the alloy in a cupel and oxidizing the lead by means of an air blast
the manufacture of lead oxide by melting and oxidizing lead


/ˈkjuːpəl; kjʊˈpɛl/
a refractory pot in which gold or silver is refined
a small porous bowl made of bone ash in which gold and silver are recovered from a lead button during assaying
verb -pels, -pelling, -pelled (US) -pels, -peling, -peled
(transitive) to refine (gold or silver) by means of cupellation
Derived Forms
cupeller, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French coupelle, diminutive of coupecup
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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