• synonyms


[ur-bee-uh m]
noun Chemistry.
  1. a rare-earth metallic element, having pink salts. Symbol: Er; atomic weight: 167.26; atomic number: 68.
Show More

Origin of erbium

1835–45; < New Latin, named after Ytterby, Sweden, where first found; see -ium
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for erbium

Historical Examples of erbium

  • A rare metal found by Prof. Mosander, associated with erbium and yttrium in ordinary yttria.

    Cooley's Practical Receipts, Volume II

    Arnold Cooley

  • Erbium, a rare metal found along with yttrium, terbium, and other rare elements in some rare minerals.

  • (c.) Yttria (YO) occurs only in a few rare minerals, and usually in company with terbium and erbium.

British Dictionary definitions for erbium


  1. a soft malleable silvery-white element of the lanthanide series of metals: used in special alloys, room-temperature lasers, and as a pigment. Symbol: Er; atomic no: 68; atomic wt: 167.26; valency: 3; relative density: 9.006; melting pt: 1529°C; boiling pt: 2868°C
Show More

Word Origin for erbium

C19: from New Latin, from (Ytt) erb (y), Sweden, where it was first found + -ium
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 erbium


1843, coined in Modern Latin with metallic element name -ium + erbia, name given by Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander (1797-1858), who discovered it, from second element in Ytterby, name of a town in Sweden where mineral containing it was found.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

erbium in Medicine


n. Symbol Er
  1. A soft rare-earth element, used in metallurgy and nuclear research. Atomic number 68.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

erbium in Science


  1. A soft, silvery, metallic element of the lanthanide series. It is used as a neutron absorber in nuclear technology and in light amplification for fiber-optic telecommunications. Atomic number 68; atomic weight 167.26; melting point 1,497°C; boiling point 2,900°C; specific gravity 9.051; valence 3. See Periodic Table.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.