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
Tim Houter, CEO of Hardt Global Mobility, said Thursday that the tube will be used to test safety and other elements of the system at low speeds before construction begins of a larger test tube for high speed testing.
The intriguing elements are the boys from Giant (Jason Vincent, Ben Lustbader, Josh Perlman), who are running the food operation (which will include breakfast, lunch and dinner), and Patrick Sheerin (ex-Trenchermen), who will be the executive chef.
The border adjustment tax, otherwise known as an import tax, could be a key element in tax reform talks in Washington, D.C.
A key element of the regulation includes a curb, called an output floor, to ensure that big banks don’t understate risks.
Exploitation of ongoing native versus non-native rifts, and tribal rifts between peaceful and violent elements is critical in our effort to delegitimize the anti-DAPL movement.
There has always been an element of tribalism in politics, the way people from this part of Chicago root for the White Sox, but people from that part go for the Cubs.
All signature Murakami elements are present and accounted for: a rainy Tokyo, neat single malt, stray cats, cool cars and classic jazz.
Even in Burgundy, where expressing the intricacies of terroir has been raised to a high art, the human element remains the most important thing.
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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