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silicon

[ sil-i-kuhn, -kon ]
/ ˈsɪl ɪ kən, -ˌkɒn /
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noun Chemistry.
a nonmetallic element, having amorphous and crystalline forms, occurring in a combined state in minerals and rocks and constituting more than one fourth of the earth's crust: used in steelmaking, alloys, etc. Symbol: Si; atomic weight: 28.086; atomic number: 14; specific gravity: 2.4 at 20°C.

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Origin of silicon

1817; silic(a) + -on, as in carbon and boron

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH silicon

silicon , silicone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use silicon in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for silicon

silicon
/ (ˈsɪlɪkən) /

noun
  1. a brittle metalloid element that exists in two allotropic forms; occurs principally in sand, quartz, granite, feldspar, and clay. It is usually a grey crystalline solid but is also found as a brown amorphous powder. It is used in transistors, rectifiers, solar cells, and alloys. Its compounds are widely used in glass manufacture, the building industry, and in the form of silicones. Symbol: Si; atomic no: 14; atomic wt: 28.0855; valency: 4; relative density: 2.33; melting pt: 1414°C; boiling pt: 3267°C
  2. (modifier; sometimes capital) denoting an area of a country that contains a density of high-technology industry

Word Origin for silicon

C19: from silica, on the model of boron, carbon
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

Scientific definitions for silicon

silicon
[ sĭlĭ-kŏn′ ]

Si
A metalloid element that occurs in both gray crystalline and brown noncrystalline forms. It is the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust and can be found only in silica and silicates. Silicon is used in glass, semiconductors, concrete, and ceramics. Atomic number 14; atomic weight 28.086; melting point 1,410°C; boiling point 2,355°C; specific gravity 2.33; valence 4. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for silicon

silicon
[ (sil-i-kon, sil-i-kuhn) ]

A chemical element from which semiconductors are made. It is also used in the manufacture of glass, concrete, brick, and pottery.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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