• synonyms


[kyoo-puh l, kyoo-pel]
  1. a small, cuplike, porous container, usually made of bone ash, used in assaying, as for separating gold and silver from lead.
  2. a receptacle or furnace bottom in which silver is refined.
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verb (used with object), cu·peled, cu·pel·ing or (especially British) cu·pelled, cu·pel·ling.
  1. to heat or refine in a cupel.
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Origin of cupel

1595–1605; < Medieval Latin cūpella, equivalent to Latin cūp(a) tub + -ella diminutive suffix
Related formscu·pel·er [kyoo-puh-ler] /ˈkyu pə lər/, cu·pel·ler [kyoo-pel-er] /kyuˈpɛl ər/, nouncu·pel·la·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cupellation

Historical Examples

  • By cupellation with lead, gold may be deprived of any antimony united with it.

    A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures and Mines

    Andrew Ure

  • Silver is extracted from lead by means of the process of cupellation.

  • To separate this, the process known as "cupellation" is employed.

    The Elements of Blowpipe Analysis

    Frederick Hutton Getman

  • If this be the case, then cupellation was practised in 2500 B.C.

    De Re Metallica

    Georgius Agricola

  • The history of cupellation is specially dealt with in note on p. 465.

    De Re Metallica

    Georgius Agricola

British Dictionary definitions for cupellation


  1. the process of recovering precious metals from lead by melting the alloy in a cupel and oxidizing the lead by means of an air blast
  2. the manufacture of lead oxide by melting and oxidizing lead
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  1. a refractory pot in which gold or silver is refined
  2. a small porous bowl made of bone ash in which gold and silver are recovered from a lead button during assaying
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verb -pels, -pelling or -pelled or US -pels, -peling or -peled
  1. (tr) to refine (gold or silver) by means of cupellation
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Derived Formscupeller, noun

Word Origin

C17: from French coupelle, diminutive of coupe cup
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