gal·​li·​um | \ ˈga-lē-əm How to pronounce gallium (audio) \

Definition of gallium

: a bluish-white metallic element obtained especially as a by-product in refining various ores and used especially in semiconductors and optoelectronic devices — see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of gallium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The firm's Rare Metals division produces, reclaims, refines, and markets high-value niche metals and compounds that include gallium, indium, rhenium, tantalum, niobium, and hafnium. Moneyshow, Forbes, "Under-The-Radar Plays In Metals & Mining," 19 Mar. 2021 The facility, in northeast Chandler, employs about 1,500 people, including about 250 focused on the new gallium nitride components. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "Chandler factory revamps for 5G cellphone growth with $100M in upgrades," 23 Oct. 2020 These multi-port chargers have gotten faster thanks to USB-C, smarter thanks to PD, and smaller thanks to GaN, a new technology nicknamed after a semiconductor made from gallium nitride. Joanna Stern, WSJ, "The Best Chargers for Your iPhone 12, Tablet, Laptop and Other USB-C Devices," 14 Oct. 2020 That's because the liquid gallium TIM allowed Sony to get the same cooling performance from a cheaper heat sink. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "PS5 will use downloadable updates to control game-by-game fan speed," 19 Oct. 2020 That includes gallium, an element used in light-emitting diodes and semiconductors for cellphones. Alistair Macdonald, WSJ, "U.S. Steps Up Efforts to Counter China’s Dominance of Minerals Key to Electric Cars, Phones," 5 Oct. 2020 Elison Matioli, a professor at the Institute of Electrical Engineering at EPFL, and his colleagues used a chip comprising a thin layer of a semiconducting material called gallium nitride, or GaN, atop a thicker silicon substrate. Mariana Lenharo, Scientific American, "Blood and Silicon: New Electronics-Cooling System Mimics Human Capillaries," 9 Sep. 2020 Watch these two science sadists inject a Stretch Armstrong doll with melted gallium. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Watch What Happens When You Inject Stretch Armstrong With Gallium," 24 June 2020 This is exactly what the researchers observed in gallium phosphide wires. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Long narrow wires carry heat with little resistance," 20 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gallium.' 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 gallium

1875, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gallium

borrowed from New Latin, from Gallia "Gaul, France" (going back to Latin) + -ium -ium

Note: The element was named by the first person to isolate it, the French chemist Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran (1838-1912), reported in "Caractères chimiques et spectroscopiques dʼun nouveau métal, le Gallium, découvert dans une blende de la mine de Pierrefitte, vallée dʼArgelès," Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de lʼAcadémie des Sciences, tome 81 (juillet-décembre 1875), pp. 493-95. In a later publication, Lecoq de Boisbaudran explained the origin of the name: " … jʼai aperçu les premiers indices de lʼexistence dʼun nouvel élément, que jʼai nommé «gallium» en lʼhonneur de la France (Gallia)" (" … I perceived the first signs of the existence of a new element, which I named "gallium" in honor of France (Gallia)") ("Sur un nouveau métal, le gallium," Annales de chimie et de physique, 5. série, tome 10 [1877], p. 103). The later hypothesis that gallium was formed from Latin gallus "cock," as a translation of the chemistʼs surname "Lecoq," is without apparent foundation. (Though the evidence is clear, there is on the other hand no indication that Lecoq de Boisbaudran ever explicitly denied the association.)

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The first known use of gallium was in 1875

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Last Updated

30 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gallium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for gallium


gal·​li·​um | \ ˈgal-ē-əm How to pronounce gallium (audio) \

Medical Definition of gallium

: a rare bluish white metallic element that is hard and brittle at low temperatures but melts just above room temperature and expands on freezing and that is used in the form of its hydrated nitrate salt Ga(NO3)3·9H2O to treat hypercalcemia caused by certain cancers symbol Ga — see Chemical Elements Table

More from Merriam-Webster on gallium

Nglish: Translation of gallium for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about gallium

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