ful·​ler·​ene ˌfu̇-lə-ˈrēn How to pronounce fullerene (audio)
: any of a class of closed hollow aromatic carbon compounds whose structures are made up of twelve pentagonal and differing numbers of hexagonal faces
especially : one having a roughly spherical shape

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web In 1996 Kroto, Curl and Smalley were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their roles in discovering the molecule, called buckminsterfullerene, or just fullerene (also known as a buckyball). Ryan C. Fortenberry, Scientific American, 1 Feb. 2020 In 2015 the cation form of fullerene, C60+, was finally trapped in the lab, and scientists were able to conclusively measure its near-infrared spectrum. Ryan C. Fortenberry, Scientific American, 1 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fullerene.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


after R. Buckminster fuller; from the resemblance of the molecules to the geodesic domes designed by Fuller

First Known Use

1987, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fullerene was in 1987

Dictionary Entries Near fullerene

Cite this Entry

“Fullerene.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fullerene. Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


ful·​ler·​ene ˌfu̇l-ə-ˈrēn How to pronounce fullerene (audio)
: any of various hollow carbon compounds

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