co·​balt | \ ˈkō-ˌbȯlt How to pronounce cobalt (audio) \

Definition of cobalt

1 : a magnetic metallic element that is used especially in alloys, in batteries, and as a pigment in paint and glass — see Chemical Elements Table

Keep scrolling for more

Did you know?

The metallic element "cobalt" ultimately draws its name from folklore. In Middle High German, "kobolt" denoted a usually helpful household elf that engaged in nasty pranks only when it was offended. Later, early Modern German Kobold came to refer to a variety of less helpful goblins inhabiting fields and mountains. The variant "Kobolt" in the 16th century was applied by German miners to ores containing the metal cobalt, which they considered to be worthless; they believed that mountain goblins had spoiled adjacent silver ores, or had stolen the silver within the ore. The metal itself in relatively pure form was not produced and described until the 17th century, when "cobalt," with its first letter influenced by New Latin cobaltum, became part of the international language of science.

Examples of cobalt in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The net result is that few explorers have been actively looking for tin at a time when copper and gold were attracting high prices and battery metals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt were seen as future winners. Tim Treadgold, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Internally, the administration has been debating whether to promote greater domestic mining or ally with friendly trade partners, such as Canada and Australia, to build up stocks of critical raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel. Paul A. Eisenstein, NBC News, 18 June 2021 The company relies on raw material from outside the United States including lithium, cobalt and nickel, Drake said. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, 11 June 2021 Now, recyclers primarily target metals in the cathode, such as cobalt and nickel, that fetch high prices. Ian Morse, Science | AAAS, 20 May 2021 Known as the samarium-cobalt (SmCo) magnet, it was developed in the 1960s in the US and was far more powerful than previous permanent magnets. Mary Hui, Quartz, 14 May 2021 Production of raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel that are essential to these technologies are often ruinous to land, water, wildlife and people. New York Times, 6 May 2021 Both coordinated with Haze's vibrant cobalt wings and Simi's florescent lemon graphic liner. Allure, 6 July 2021 Appeals and litigation are currently threatening and delaying U.S. critical-minerals mining projects for lithium, copper, antimony and cobalt. WSJ, 13 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cobalt.' 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 cobalt

circa 1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cobalt

German Kobalt, alteration of Kobold, literally, goblin, from Middle High German kobolt; from its occurrence in silver ore, believed to be due to goblins

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About cobalt

Time Traveler for cobalt

Time Traveler

The first known use of cobalt was circa 1872

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About cobalt

Dictionary Entries Near cobalt



cobalt 60

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cobalt

Last Updated

23 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cobalt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cobalt



English Language Learners Definition of cobalt

: a hard, shiny, silver-white metal that is often mixed with other metals


co·​balt | \ ˈkō-ˌbȯlt How to pronounce cobalt (audio) \

Kids Definition of cobalt

: a tough shiny silvery white metallic chemical element found with iron and nickel


co·​balt | \ ˈkō-ˌbȯlt How to pronounce cobalt (audio) \

Medical Definition of cobalt

: a tough lustrous silver-white magnetic metallic element that is related to and occurs with iron and nickel and is used especially in alloys symbol Co — see Chemical Elements Table

More from Merriam-Webster on cobalt

Nglish: Translation of cobalt for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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