[ih-lek-truh m]
  1. an amber-colored alloy of gold and silver used in ancient times.
  2. an alloy composed of about 50 percent copper, 30 percent nickel, and 20 percent zinc.
  3. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for electrum

Historical Examples of electrum

  • It is an electrum, and magic and the observance of the hour have nothing to do with it.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • Some think that it was the electrum of the ancients, which was an alloy of silver and gold.

    The New York Obelisk

    Charles E. Moldenke

  • In what way did electrum induce attention to this property of force in matter?

  • The coins first issued by the Lydians were of electrum, an alloy of gold and silver.


    Bradley A. Fiske

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

    Troy and its Remains

    Henry (Heinrich) Schliemann

British Dictionary definitions for electrum


  1. 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