[tuhng-stuh n]

noun Chemistry.

a rare, metallic element having a bright-gray color, a metallic luster, and a high melting point, 3410° C, and found in wolframite, tungstite, and other minerals: used in alloys of high-speed cutting tools, electric-lamp filaments, etc. Symbol: W; atomic weight: 183.85; atomic number: 74; specific gravity: 19.3.

Origin of tungsten

1760–70; < Swedish, equivalent to tung heavy + sten stone
Also called wolfram.
Related formstung·sten·ic [tuhng-sten-ik] /tʌŋˈstɛn ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tungsten

Contemporary Examples of tungsten

Historical Examples of tungsten

  • To begin with metals, uranium melts at 1150 centigrade, and tungsten at 3370 and iridium at 2350.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • There are two styles in common use, the carbon and the tungsten lamp.

    Electricity for the farm

    Frederick Irving Anderson

  • Down under all that tungsten there is the place of laughter.

    The Pagan Madonna

    Harold MacGrath

  • Chromite moves from two principal sources; tungsten also from two.

  • What is the "efficiency" of a 40-watt tungsten lamp if it gives 34 candle power?


    Willis Eugene Tower

British Dictionary definitions for tungsten



a hard malleable ductile greyish-white element. It occurs principally in wolframite and scheelite and is used in lamp filaments, electrical contact points, X-ray targets, and, alloyed with steel, in high-speed cutting tools. Symbol: W; atomic no: 74; atomic wt: 183.85; valency: 2–6; relative density: 19.3; melting pt: 3422±20°C; boiling pt: 5555°CAlso called: wolfram

Word Origin for tungsten

C18: from Swedish tung heavy + sten stone
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 tungsten

rare metallic element, 1796, from Swedish tungsten "calcium tungstate," coined by its discoverer, Swedish chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786) from tung "heavy" + sten "stone." Used earlier as the name for calcium tungstate (1770). Atomic symbol W is from Latin wolframium, from German Wolfram "iron tungstate" (see wolfram).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tungsten in Medicine



n. Symbol W

A hard brittle corrosion-resistant metallic element having the highest melting point of any metal and used in high-temperature structural materials and in electrical elements, notably lamp filaments. Atomic number 74.wolfram
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

tungsten in Science




A hard, gray to white metallic element that is very resistant to corrosion. It has the highest melting point of all elements, and it retains its strength at high temperatures. It is used to make light-bulb filaments and to increase the hardness and strength of steel. Atomic number 74; atomic weight 183.84; melting point 3,410°C; boiling point 5,900°C; specific gravity 19.3 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Also called wolfram See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.