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

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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 Various studies and reports have projected that rapid growth of the EV industry could lead to shortages of key battery metals, like cobalt, in the not-too-distant future. Maddie Stone, Wired, "What Happens After a ‘Million-Mile Battery’ Outlasts the Car?," 11 July 2020 With cobalt-blue waters, colorful coral life, and white sandy beaches, the South Pacific feels like a picture-perfect postcard. Chloe Sachdev, Travel + Leisure, "The Top 5 Resort Hotels in the South Pacific," 8 July 2020 For minerals like lithium, graphite, and cobalt, that would mean a production increase of nearly 500% in the next three decades. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Republicans prepare for energy ‘cold war’ with China," 17 June 2020 Twin Metals claims its site contains 99% of U.S. nickel reserves, 88% of its cobalt reserves, and a third of the nation’s copper reserves. Jack Brook, The Christian Science Monitor, "Conservation vs. copper: Minnesota town debates its future with a mine," 2 July 2020 Your pitcher is mold cast stoneware, with an applied handle, in a Bristol glaze, with relief cobalt profile bust decoration of a gentleman and a lady. oregonlive, "Moorish Revival lamps, cast iron bank, lithograph: What are they worth?," 30 June 2020 As reported by Reuters, the batteries eliminate expensive cobalt from their chemistry. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Tesla sets a new date for ‘Battery Day’ showcase of its new technology and production line," 22 June 2020 The United States has been losing ground for years, while other countries, and especially China, have rapidly scaled up mining for lithium, cobalt, graphite, rare earth elements, and other critical minerals. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Republicans prepare for energy ‘cold war’ with China," 17 June 2020 The battery maker is also working to reduce and even eliminate the use of cobalt in its batteries which would lower the cost of its products. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "China's CATL Has a Million-Mile EV Battery Pack Ready to Go," 8 June 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for cobalt

Time Traveler

The first known use of cobalt was circa 1872

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Last Updated

22 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cobalt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for cobalt


How to pronounce cobalt (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cobalt

Spanish Central: Translation of cobalt

Nglish: Translation of cobalt for Spanish Speakers

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

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