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[zur-koh-nee-uh m] /zɜrˈkoʊ ni əm/
noun, Chemistry.
a metallic element found combined in zircon, baddeleyite, etc., resembling titanium chemically: used in steel metallurgy, as a scavenger, as a refractory, and as an opacifier in vitreous enamels. Symbol: Zr; atomic weight: 91.22; atomic number: 40; specific gravity: 6.49 at 20°C.
Origin of zirconium
From New Latin, dating back to 1800-10; See origin at zircon, -ium
Related forms
[zur-kon-ik] /zɜrˈkɒn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for zirconium


a greyish-white metallic element, occurring chiefly in zircon, that is exceptionally corrosion-resistant and has low neutron absorption. It is used as a coating in nuclear and chemical plants, as a deoxidizer in steel, and alloyed with niobium in superconductive magnets. Symbol: Zr; atomic no: 40; atomic wt: 91.224; valency: 2, 3, or 4; relative density: 6.506; melting pt: 1855±2°C; boiling pt: 4409°C
Derived Forms
zirconic (zɜːˈkɒnɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin; see zircon
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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Word Origin and History for zirconium

metallic chemical element, 1808, coined by German chemist and mineralogist Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743-1817) in 1789; so called because it was found in zircon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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zirconium in Medicine

zirconium zir·co·ni·um (zûr-kō'nē-əm)
Symbol Zr
A strong ductile metallic element obtained primarily from zircon. Atomic number 40; atomic weight 91.22; melting point 1,855°C; boiling point 4,409°C; specific gravity 6.51 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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zirconium in Science
Symbol Zr
A shiny, grayish-white metallic element that occurs primarily in zircon. It is used to build nuclear reactors because of its ability to withstand bombardment by neutrons even at high temperatures. Zirconium is also highly resistant to corrosion, making it a useful component of pumps, valves, and alloys. Atomic number 40; atomic weight 91.22; melting point 1,852°C; boiling point 4,377°C; specific gravity 6.56 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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