Definition of element
1a : any of the four substances air, water, fire, and earth formerly believed to compose the physical universeb elements plural : weather conditions; especially : violent or severe weather battling the elementsc : the state or sphere natural or suited to a person or thing at school she was in her element
2 : a constituent part: such asa elements plural : the simplest principles of a subject of study : rudimentsb (1) : a part of a geometric magnitude an infinitesimal element of volume (2) : a generator of a geometric figure; also : a line or line segment contained in the surface of a cone or cylinder (3) : a basic member of a mathematical or logical class or set (4) : one of the individual entries in a mathematical matrix or determinantc : a distinct group within a larger group or community the criminal element in the cityd (1) : one of the necessary data or values on which calculations or conclusions are based (2) : one of the factors determining the outcome of a processe : any of the fundamental substances that consist of atoms of only one kind and that singly or in combination constitute all matterf : a distinct part of a composite deviceg : a subdivision of a military unit
3 elements plural : the bread and wine used in the Eucharist
Examples of element in a Sentence
Water is composed of the elements hydrogen and oxygen.
a free press is an essential element of a democracy
Recent Examples of element from the Web
But there is a revolution and a revelation lurking in these childlike elements—a demonstration that the immaterial stuff of time can be evoked through the most material of forms.
These elements never clash because the characters are fully formed individuals, real people with real relationships and real problems.
Something to keep an eye on: The World Bank warns that the worldwide transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy will require more metal and rare-Earth element extraction.
At present, though, the elements for either genre are slotting into place — an Allen Drury novel crossed with Shakespeare, with final touches entrusted to producers for the E! network.
Fendi’s Roman opulence and Soho’s industrial history might not seem like an obvious match, but the store juxtaposes the two aesthetics beautifully, pairing textural design elements with concrete and bricks salvaged from old New York buildings.
Martin’s books aren’t for the squeamish, but HBO took the lewd elements to the next level.
The Western-style draping incorporates popular international fashion elements alongside a sense of high-quality professionalism.
Where The Fifth Element had just under 200 effects elements—that flying-car chase through Manhattan, the luxury-cruise starship—
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'element.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of element
Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin elementum
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of element
ELEMENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of element for English Language Learners
chemistry : one of the basic substances that are made of atoms of only one kind and that cannot be separated by ordinary chemical means into simpler substances
: a particular part of something (such as a situation or activity)
: a part of an electrical device that produces heat
ELEMENT Defined for Kids
Definition of element for Students
1 : any of more than 100 substances that cannot by ordinary chemical means be separated into different substances Gold and carbon are elements.
2 : one of the parts of which something is made up There is an element of risk in surfing.
3 : the simplest principles of a subject of study the elements of arithmetic
4 : a member of a mathematical set
5 : the state or place natural to or suited to a person or thing At school I was in my element.
6 elements plural : the forces of nature
Medical Definition of element
1: any of the four substances air, water, fire, and earth formerly believed to compose the physical universe
2: a constituent part: asa: any of more than 100 fundamental substances that consist of atoms of only one kind and that singly or in combination constitute all matterb: one of the distinct parts (as a lens) of a composite device (as a microscope)c: one of the basic constituent units (as a cell or fiber) of a tissue
Legal Definition of element
: one of the constituent parts (as a particular act, a mental state, or an attendant circumstance) of a crime as defined by statute that the prosecution must prove to win a conviction
Seen and Heard
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