cad·mi·um | \ˈkad-mē-əm \

Definition of cadmium 

: a toxic bluish-white malleable ductile divalent metallic element used especially in batteries, pigments, and protective platings — see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of cadmium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

My Princeton painting classes took me to museums, to Philip Guston’s cadmium red, ivory black, and titanium white cigar-smoking Klansmen and John Currin’s skinny, huge breasted naked white women the color of supermarket peach flesh. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Old In Art School," 20 June 2018 There is mercury in liquid-crystal display screens, lead in cathode-ray tubes, cadmium in semiconductors and batteries, and ozone layer-destroying chlorofluorocarbons in old refrigerators, for example. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "'E-waste': Getting grip on a growing global problem," 9 July 2018 Police found quicksilver, lead and cadmium in the man's home. Darko Janjevic, USA TODAY, "German man suspected of killing 21 co-workers by poisoning their food," 29 June 2018 Many components are laden with lead and mercury, cadmium, and other toxins. The Christian Science Monitor, "Thailand takes first step toward total ban of e-waste," 21 June 2018 Lough and her colleagues are sampling modern cores from the Great Barrier Reef and testing growth layers for levels of toxic metals such as lead and cadmium, which often come from industrial production. Elizabeth Svoboda, Scientific American, "Cores from Coral Reefs Hold Secrets of the Seas’ Past and Future," 6 June 2018 All items contain lead at levels well above the government's limit in children's products and many also contain cadmium. Good Housekeeping, "The History of the Good Housekeeping Institute," 31 Oct. 2015 Lead, arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, thallium, and uranium are among the chemicals and heavy metals listed with coal ash deposits. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "An Indiana county is paying a steep price for burying toxic coal ash," 18 May 2018 The modeling also indicated elevated levels of cadmium. Becky Kramer, The Seattle Times, "EPA won’t test air in Washington state, downwind of B.C. lead smelter," 7 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cadmium.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cadmium

1818, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cadmium

New Latin, from Latin cadmia zinc oxide, from Greek kadmeia, literally, Theban (earth), from feminine of kadmeios Theban, from Kadmos; from the occurrence of its ores together with zinc oxide

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cadmium

Statistics for cadmium

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cadmium

The first known use of cadmium was in 1818

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cadmium



English Language Learners Definition of cadmium

: a bluish-white metal that is used especially in protective coatings and in batteries


cad·mi·um | \ˈkad-mē-əm \

Medical Definition of cadmium 

: a bluish white malleable ductile toxic bivalent metallic element used especially in protective platings and in bearing metals symbol Cd — see Chemical Elements Table

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cadmium

Spanish Central: Translation of cadmium

Nglish: Translation of cadmium for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cadmium for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cadmium

Comments on cadmium

What made you want to look up cadmium? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!