• synonyms


[woo l-fruh m, vawl-]
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  1. Chemistry. tungsten.
  2. Mineralogy. wolframite.
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Origin of wolfram

1750–60; < German Wolfram orig., wolframite, probably equivalent to Wolf wolf + -ram, representing Middle High German rām soot, dirt; formed on the model of personal names with initial Wolf-, as a contemptuous epithet for the mineral, which was considered worthless in comparison with tin ores, with which it is often found
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for wolfram


  1. another name for tungsten
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Word Origin

C18: from German, originally perhaps from the proper name, Wolfram, used pejoratively of tungsten because it was thought inferior to tin
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 wolfram


1757, from German Wolfram, wolform "iron tungstate" (1562), of obscure etymology. It looks like "wolf-cream" (from rahm "cream"), but the second element might be Middle High German ram (German Rahm) "dirty mark, soot;" if so, perhaps "so called in sign of contempt because it was regarded of lesser value than tin and caused a considerable loss of tin during the smelting process in the furnace" [Klein]. Or perhaps the word is originally a personal name, "wolf-raven."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wolfram in Medicine


  1. tungsten

wolfram in Science


  1. See tungsten.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.