[ih-lek-truh m]


an amber-colored alloy of gold and silver used in ancient times.
an alloy composed of about 50 percent copper, 30 percent nickel, and 20 percent zinc.
German silver; nickel silver.

Origin of electrum

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek ḗlektron amber, alloy of gold and silver
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for electrum

Historical Examples of electrum

  • In both cases the name is derived from the pale yellow colour of electrum, resembling that of amber.

  • It was of electrum, a kind of brass at this time called the gold of the poor.

    Joan of Arc

    Lucy Foster Madison

  • The most ancient Lydian coins are likewise made of electrum.

    Troy and its Remains

    Henry (Heinrich) Schliemann

  • Electrum is an alloy of gold and silver, Stannum of lead and silver (see note 33, p. 473).

    De Re Metallica

    Georgius Agricola

  • The Lydians began coinage by stamping with a punch each ingot or nugget of gold or silver, or a mixture of them called “Electrum.”

    The Swastika

    Thomas Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for electrum



an alloy of gold (55–88 per cent) and silver used for jewellery and ornaments

Word Origin for electrum

C14: from Latin, from Greek ēlektron amber
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 electrum

"alloy of gold and up to 40% silver," late 14c. (in Old English elehtre), from Latin electrum "alloy of gold and silver," also "amber" (see electric). So called probably for its pale yellow color.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper