cobalt was our Word of the Day on 07/05/2011. Hear the podcast!
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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
First Known Use: 1683
COBALT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cobalt for English Language Learners
: a hard, shiny, silver-white metal that is often mixed with other metals
COBALT Defined for Kids
Definition of cobalt for Students
: a tough shiny silvery white metallic chemical element found with iron and nickel
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