amalgam

[uh-mal-guh m]
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noun
  1. an alloy of mercury with another metal or metals.
  2. an alloy that consists chiefly of silver mixed with mercury and variable amounts of other metals and is used as a dental filling.
  3. a rare mineral, an alloy of silver and mercury, occurring as silver-white crystals or grains.
  4. a mixture or combination: His character is a strange amalgam of contradictory traits.

Origin of amalgam

1425–75; late Middle English amalgam(e) < Middle French < Medieval Latin < dialectal Arabic al the + malgham < Greek málagma softening agent, equivalent to malak- (stem of malássein to soften) + -ma noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for amalgam

amalgam

noun
  1. an alloy of mercury with another metal, esp with silverdental amalgam
  2. a rare white metallic mineral that consists of silver and mercury and occurs in deposits of silver and cinnabar
  3. a blend or combination

Word Origin for amalgam

C15: from Medieval Latin amalgama, of obscure origin
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 amalgam
n.

c.1400, "blend of mercury with another metal; soft mass formed by chemical manipulation," from Old French amalgame or directly from Medieval Latin amalgama, "alloy of mercury (especially with gold or silver)," an alchemists' word, perhaps an alteration of Latin malagma "poultice, plaster," probably from Arabic al-malgham "an emollient poultice or unguent for sores (especially warm)" [Francis Johnson, "A Dictionary of Persian, Arabic, and English"], perhaps from Greek malagma "softening substance," from malassein "to soften," from malakos "soft."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

amalgam in Medicine

amalgam

[ə-mălgəm]
n.
  1. Any of various alloys of mercury with other metals, as with tin or silver, used for filling teeth.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

amalgam in Science

amalgam

[ə-mălgəm]
  1. An alloy of mercury and another metal, especially:
  2. An alloy of mercury and silver used in dental fillings.
  3. An alloy of silver and tin used in silvering mirrors.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.