[ biz-muh th ]
/ ˈbɪz məθ /

noun Chemistry.

a brittle, grayish-white, red-tinged, metallic element used in the manufacture of fusible alloys and in medicine. Symbol: Bi; atomic weight: 208.980; atomic number: 83.

Origin of bismuth

1660–70; earlier bismutum < New Latin bisemūtum, Latinized form of German Wissmuth (now Wismut) < ?
Related formsbis·muth·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for bismuth


/ (ˈbɪzməθ) /


a brittle pinkish-white crystalline metallic element having low thermal and electrical conductivity, which expands on cooling. It is widely used in alloys, esp low-melting alloys in fire safety devices; its compounds are used in medicines. Symbol: Bi; atomic no: 83; atomic wt: 208.98037; valency: 3 or 5; relative density: 9.747; melting pt: 271.4°C; boiling pt: 1564±5°C
Derived Formsbismuthal (ˈbɪzməθəl), adjective

Word Origin for bismuth

C17: from New Latin bisemūtum, from German Wismut, of unknown 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 bismuth



1660s, from obsolete German Bismuth, also Wismut, Wissmuth (early 17c.), of unknown origin; perhaps a miner's contraction of wis mat "white mass," from Old High German hwiz "white." Latinized 1530 by Georgius Agricola (who may have been the first to recognize it as an element) as bisemutum. According to Klein, not from Arabic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for bismuth


[ bĭzməth ]

n. Symbol Bi

A metallic element used in various low-melting alloys and having many medical applications, including as an x-ray contrast medium and in compounds that are used as astringents, antiseptics, treatments of gastrointestinal disturbances, and suppressants of lupus erythematosus. Atomic number 83.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for bismuth


[ bĭzməth ]


A brittle, pinkish-white, crystalline metallic element that occurs in nature as a free metal and in various ores. Bismuth is the most strongly diamagnetic element and has the highest atomic number of all stable elements. It is used to make low-melting alloys for fire-safety devices. Atomic number 83; atomic weight 208.98; melting point 271.3°C; boiling point 1,560°C; specific gravity 9.747; valence 3, 5. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.