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graphite

[graf-ahyt]
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noun
  1. a very common mineral, soft native carbon, occurring in black to dark-gray foliated masses, with metallic luster and greasy feel: used for pencil leads, as a lubricant, and for making crucibles and other refractories; plumbago; black lead.
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Origin of graphite

1790–1800; < German Graphit < Greek gráph(ein) to write, draw + German -it -ite1
Related formsgra·phit·ic [gruh-fit-ik] /grəˈfɪt ɪk/, adjectivenon·gra·phit·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for graphite

graphite

noun
  1. a blackish soft allotropic form of carbon in hexagonal crystalline form: used in pencils, crucibles, and electrodes, as a lubricant, as a moderator in nuclear reactors, and, in a carbon fibre form, as a tough lightweight material for sporting equipmentAlso called: plumbago
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Derived Formsgraphitic (ɡrəˈfɪtɪk), adjective

Word Origin

C18: from German Graphit; from Greek graphein to write + -ite 1
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

Word Origin and History for graphite

n.

1796, from German Graphit "black lead," coined 1789 by German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner (1750-1817) from Greek graphein "write" (see -graphy) + mineral suffix -ite. So called because it was used in pencils. Related: Graphitic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

graphite in Science

graphite

[grăfīt′]
  1. A naturally occurring, steel-gray to black, crystalline form of carbon. The carbon atoms in graphite are strongly bonded together in sheets. Because the bonds between the sheets are weak, other atoms can easily fit between them, causing graphite to be soft and slippery to the touch. Graphite is used in pencils and paints and as a lubricant and electrode. It is also used to control chain reactions in nuclear reactors because of its ability to absorb neutrons.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.