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  1. of, relating to, or consisting of metal.
  2. of the nature of or suggesting metal, as in luster, resonance, or hardness: metallic green; a harsh metallic sound.
  3. Chemistry.
    1. (of a metal element) being in the free or uncombined state: metallic iron.
    2. containing or yielding metal.
  1. Textiles.
    1. a yarn or fiber made partly or entirely of metal and having a metallic appearance.
    2. a fabric made of such a yarn or fiber.

Origin of metallic

1560–70; < Latin metallicus < Greek metallikós of, for mines. See metal, -ic
Related formsme·tal·li·cal·ly, adverbmet·al·lic·i·ty [met-l-is-i-tee] /ˌmɛt lˈɪs ɪ ti/, met·al·le·i·ty [met-l-ee-i-tee] /ˌmɛt lˈi ɪ ti/, nounin·ter·me·tal·lic, adjectivemul·ti·me·tal·lic, adjectivesem·i·me·tal·lic, adjectiveun·me·tal·lic, adjectiveun·me·tal·li·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for metallic

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There was a metallic ring in Crane's voice that affected her disagreeably.


    W. A. Fraser

  • There was a sound of metallic clicking and a thin rattle of steel.

  • "Not all skill—not all skill," piped the metallic voice, indistinctly.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • The metallic noise of the gulls grew so loud as to blanket all else.

  • None of them are muddy, or metallic, or dingy, as are too many blues and lavenders.

British Dictionary definitions for metallic


  1. of, concerned with, or consisting of metal or a metal
  2. suggestive of a metala metallic click; metallic lustre
  3. chem (of a metal element) existing in the free state rather than in combinationmetallic copper
Derived Formsmetallically, adverb
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 metallic


1560s, from Middle French métallique or directly from Latin metallicus, from Greek metallikos, from metallon (see metal).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

metallic in Science


  1. Relating to or having the characteristics of a metal.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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