chon·​drule | \ ˈkän-(ˌ)drül How to pronounce chondrule (audio) \

Definition of chondrule

: a rounded granule of cosmic origin often found embedded in meteoric stones and sometimes free in marine sediments

First Known Use of chondrule

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chondrule

chondrus, earlier term for a chondrule (borrowed from Greek chóndros "grain of wheat, salt, etc.") + -ule — more at chondro-

Note: The term chondrule was apparently first used by American geologists; the earliest published use is perhaps in Edward S. Dana and Samuel L. Penfield, "On two hitherto undescribed Meteoric Stones," American Journal of Science, 3rd series, vol. 33 (1886), p. 227: "The olivine is the most prominent constituent. This appears frequently in spherules or 'chondrules' of the size of very small shot…" Chondrus (plural chondri or, irregularly, chondra) occurs earlier, as in Walter Flight's translation ("The Formation of Meteorites, and Volcanic Agency," The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 5th series, no. 1, Supplement, June, 1876, pp. 497-507) of an article by the Austrian mineralogist Gustav Tschermak von Seysenegg, "Die Bildung der Meteoriten und der Vulcanismus" (Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe, 71. Band, 2. Abtheilung (1875), pp. 661-673). Flight translates Kügelchen in Tschermak's German text as both "spherules" and "chondra." At around the same time German-language authors use the word with the plural form Chondren, either independently or following Anglo-American writers (see, for example, Carl Gümbel, "Ueber die in Bayern gefundenen Steinmeteoriten," Sitzungsberichte der mathematisch-physikalischen Classe der k.b. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München, Band 8, Jahrgang 1878, pp. 14-72).

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The first known use of chondrule was circa 1889

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Cite this Entry

“Chondrule.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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