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[puh-ley-dee-uh m]
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noun Chemistry.
  1. a rare metallic element of the platinum group, silver-white, ductile and malleable, harder and fusing more readily than platinum: used chiefly as a catalyst and in dental and other alloys. Symbol: Pd; atomic weight: 106.4; atomic number: 46; specific gravity: 12 at 20°C.

Origin of palladium

special use of Palladium; named (1803) after the asteroid Pallas, then newly discovered; see -ium


[puh-ley-dee-uh m]
noun, plural Pal·la·di·a [puh-ley-dee-uh] /pəˈleɪ di ə/.
  1. Also Pal·la·di·on [puh-ley-dee-on] /pəˈleɪ diˌɒn/. a statue of Athena, especially one on the citadel of Troy on which the safety of the city was supposed to depend.
  2. (usually lowercase) anything believed to provide protection or safety; safeguard.

Origin of Palladium

< Latin Palladium < Greek Palládion, noun use of neuter of Palládios of Pallas, equivalent to Pallad- (stem of Pallás) Pallas + -ios adj. suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for palladium


  1. a ductile malleable silvery-white element of the platinum metal group occurring principally in nickel-bearing ores: used as a hydrogenation catalyst and, alloyed with gold, in jewellery. Symbol: Pd; atomic no: 46; atomic wt: 106.42; valency: 2, 3, or 4; relative density: 1202; melting pt: 1555°C; boiling pt: 2964°C

Word Origin

C19: named after the asteroid Pallas, at the time (1803) a recent discovery


  1. something believed to ensure protection; safeguard

Word Origin

C17: after the Palladium


  1. a statue of Pallas Athena, esp the one upon which the safety of Troy depended
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 palladium


"safeguard," c.1600, originally (late 14c.) "sacred image of Pallas Athene," from Latin palladium, from Greek Palladion, noun use of neuter of Palladios "of Pallas." It stood in the citadel of Troy and the safety of the city was believed to depend on it.


metallic element, coined 1803 by discoverer William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828), from Pallas, name of an asteroid discovered the previous year (by German astronomer Olbers) and named for the goddess (see Pallas).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

palladium in Medicine


n. Symbol Pd
  1. A soft ductile metallic element occurring naturally with platinum, especially in gold, nickel, and copper ores, and used as a catalyst in hydrogenation and in dentistry. Atomic number 46.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

palladium in Science


  1. A malleable, ductile, grayish-white metallic element that occurs naturally with platinum. It is used as a catalyst in hydrogenation and in alloys for making electrical contacts and jewelry. Atomic number 46; atomic weight 106.4; melting point 1,552°C; boiling point 3,140°C; specific gravity 12.02 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.