element

noun
el·​e·​ment | \ ˈe-lə-mənt How to pronounce element (audio) \

Definition of element

1a : any of the four substances air, water, fire, and earth formerly believed to compose the physical universe
b elements plural : weather conditions especially : violent or severe weather battling the elements
c : the state or sphere natural or suited to a person or thing at school she was in her element
2 : a constituent part: such as
a elements plural : the simplest principles of a subject of study : rudiments
b(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 determinant
c : a distinct group within a larger group or community the criminal element in the city
d(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 process
e : any of the fundamental substances that consist of atoms of only one kind and that singly or in combination constitute all matter
f : a distinct part of a composite device
g : a subdivision of a military unit
3 elements plural : the bread and wine used in the Eucharist
element table

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Synonyms & Antonyms for element

Synonyms

building block, component, constituent, factor, ingredient, member

Antonyms

whole

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Choose the Right Synonym for element

element, component, constituent, ingredient mean one of the parts of a compound or complex whole. element applies to any such part and often connotes irreducible simplicity. the basic elements of geometry component and constituent may designate any of the substances (whether elements or compounds) or the qualities that enter into the makeup of a complex product; component stresses its separate entity or distinguishable character. the components of a stereo system constituent stresses its essential and formative character. the constituents of a chemical compound ingredient applies to any of the substances which when combined form a particular mixture. the ingredients of a cocktail

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 on the Web

Basic elements — such as the right to see the evidence against you, the right to cross-examination, and the right to legal counsel — are indispensable to finding the facts when claims are disputed. David French, National Review, "How the Obama Administration Harmed Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault," 8 July 2019 But drivers soon found themselves in a race against the elements, eventually leading to a dust-up between Austin Dillon and Clint Bowyer that would change the course of the race. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Longshot Justin Haley wins rain-shortened Coke Zero Sugar 400," 7 July 2019 Finally, there’s savagery/style, the all-important subjective category that measures all the intangible elements of the homer: bat flips or tosses, degree of difficulty, and other external factors like vengeance and trash talking. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Ranking the 10 Best Home Runs of 2019 So Far," 4 July 2019 Williams arrays elements of the Furber service, engraved with Elvira’s initials, in a setting resembling Gorham’s pavilion in the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "With this glittering display of silver, a Providence rags-to-riches tale," 3 July 2019 The surface provides a spot for decorative elements, frames a bold piece of art or mirror, and the drawer offers a handy hideaway for those necessities of life that don't need to be on display, like spare keys. Lauren Hubbard, ELLE Decor, "Classic Pieces Every Room in Your Home Needs," 3 July 2019 Instead, seek out architecture that gives you the best of both worlds—protection from the elements, and the feeling of being outdoors—like Hawaii’s classic lanais. Kelly Dawson, House Beautiful, "What Is a Lanai, Other Than the Key to an Endless Summer?," 2 July 2019 Alternatively, Matthews could be used as a starter-level reserve off the bench, adding a dynamic element, defensive toughness and scoring pop to that group. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks to sign former Marquette standout Wesley Matthews to minimum contract," 1 July 2019 As with any good Instagram-ready exhibition, there will be a shoppable element, too. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Louis Vuitton Opens Massive Fashion Exhibition in L.A.," 28 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of element

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for element

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin elementum

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Dictionary Entries near element

eleidin

elem

eleme figs

element

elemental

elementalism

elementary

Statistics for element

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for element

The first known use of element was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for element

element

noun

English Language Learners Definition of element

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

noun
el·​e·​ment | \ ˈe-lə-mənt How to pronounce element (audio) \

Kids Definition of element

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

element

noun
el·​e·​ment | \ ˈel-ə-mənt How to pronounce element (audio) \

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: as
a : any of more than 100 fundamental substances that consist of atoms of only one kind and that singly or in combination constitute all matter
b : 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

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element

noun
el·​e·​ment

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on element

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for element

Spanish Central: Translation of element

Nglish: Translation of element for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of element for Arabic Speakers

Comments on element

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