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 element table
Recent Examples of gallium from the Web
A second contract, this one with Darpa, involves developing gallium nitride (GaN) as a semiconductor for missile defense radars.
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.
Origin and Etymology of gallium
borrowed from New Latin, from Gallia “Gaul, France” (going back to Latin) + -ium -ium ◆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 d'un nouveau métal, le Gallium, découvert dns une blende de la mine de Pierrefitte, vallée d'Argelès,” Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des Sciences, tome 81 (juillet-décembre 1875), pp. 493-95. In a later publication, Lecoq de Boisbaudran explained the origin of the name: “ … j'ai aperçu les premiers indices de l'existence d'un nouvel élément, que j'ai nommé «gallium» en l'honneur 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 , p. 103). The later hypothesis that gallium was formed from Latin gallus “cock,” as a translation of the chemist's 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.)
First Known Use: 1875
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 element table
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up gallium? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).