[zee-non, zen-on]

noun Chemistry.

a heavy, colorless, chemically inactive, monatomic gaseous element used for filling radio, television, and luminescent tubes. Symbol: Xe; atomic weight: 131.30; atomic number: 54.

Origin of xenon

1898; < Greek xénon, neuter of xénos strange (see -on2); name introduced by William Ramsay, the element's discoverer
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for xenon

Contemporary Examples of xenon

Historical Examples of xenon

  • The evidence for the existence of krypton and xenon is, however, inconclusive.

  • That report was enough to make a man quit his job and go to Xenon to start a chicken ranch or grow oranges.

    The Moralist

    Jack Taylor

  • The animals on Xenon are immune from them, but when they land on a man, they send out tiny rootlets that are like minute hairs.

    The Moralist

    Jack Taylor

  • Aristarchus combated “the paradox of Xenon,” and it does not seem to have had much acceptance in antiquity.

  • The remaining elements of this group—neon, krypton, and xenon—have been obtained from liquid air.

British Dictionary definitions for xenon



a colourless odourless gaseous element occurring in trace amounts in air; formerly considered inert it is now known to form compounds and is used in radio valves, stroboscopic and bactericidal lamps, and bubble chambers. Symbol: Xe; atomic no: 54; atomic wt: 131.29; valency: 0; density: 5.887 kg/m³; melting pt: –111.76°C; boiling pt: –108.0°C

Word Origin for xenon

C19: from Greek: something strange
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 xenon

gaseous element, 1898, from Greek xenon, neuter of xenos "foreign, strange" (see guest); coined by its co-discoverer, Scottish chemist Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916); cf. krypton.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

xenon in Medicine



n. Symbol Xe

A colorless, odorless, highly unreactive gaseous element found in minute quantities in the atmosphere and extracted commercially from liquefied air, used as an anesthetic and, in radioisotope form, for diagnostic imaging. Atomic number 54.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

xenon in Science




A colorless, odorless element in the noble gas group occurring in extremely small amounts in the atmosphere. It was the first noble gas found to form compounds with other elements. Xenon is used in lamps that make intense flashes, such as strobe lights and flashbulbs for photography. Atomic number 54; atomic weight 131.29; melting point -111.9°C; boiling point -107.1°C; density (gas) 5.887 grams per liter; specific gravity (liquid) 3.52 (-109°C). See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.