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

Definition of cobalt

1 : a tough lustrous silver-white magnetic metallic element that is related to and occurs with iron and nickel and is used especially in alloys — 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

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Glencore said Mutanda will produce about 100,000 metric tons of copper this year, down from 199,000 in 2018, and 25,000 tons of cobalt. Scott Patterson, WSJ, "Glencore Contractor in Congo Spills Acid, Killing 20," 22 Feb. 2019 Carmakers have responded to rising raw materials prices by accelerating work on types of batteries that use smaller amounts of cobalt, BNEF said. David Stringer,, "Threat of Cobalt Supply Shock Is Top Risk for Electric Vehicles," 21 May 2018 The results were less than successful; the simple aqua pool suddenly sported a border of highly decorative cobalt and white Portuguese tile, while pinky-beige crown moldings appeared in the lobbies. Steven Stolman, House Beautiful, "This Delightfully Retro Apartment Complex Has Been Home to Design Royalty," 6 Mar. 2019 Photo: Associated Press Congo produces some two-thirds of the world’s supply of cobalt, which is key to the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries, along with minerals such as copper, tin and coltan used in cellphones, laptops and electric cars. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "Congo Postpones Vote to Elect Successor to Kabila by a Week," 20 Dec. 2018 After adding extensions and weaving waist-grazing braids on a handful of models, hairstylist Kien Hoang fastened them with plastic water bottle tops, spliced and crushed in cobalt and transparent shades. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Chromat Brings the Anti-Plastic Movement to the Runway With a Striking Beauty Statement," 9 Feb. 2019 In Australia investment in battery minerals such as lithium and cobalt is already booming. The Economist, "A scramble for the minerals used in renewable energy is under way," 15 Mar. 2018 On Monday in London, Murray had a hip resurfacing procedure that shaves the bone and covers it, in a full circle, with cobalt chromium metal. Tom Perrotta, WSJ, "Tennis Star Andy Murray Undergoes Hip Resurfacing Surgery," 29 Jan. 2019 Congo produces some two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, used in the lithium-ion batteries powering electric cars and mobile phones, and several other minerals key to manufacturing modern technologies. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "Catholic Church Questions Surprise Congo Election Results," 10 Jan. 2019

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

1683, 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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cobalt 60


cobalt bloom

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Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for cobalt

The first known use of cobalt was in 1683

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cobalt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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