gal·​li·​um ˈga-lē-əm How to pronounce gallium (audio)
: 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 Fab 9 offers some unique process technologies, including gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon and silicon germanium (SiGe). Willy Shih, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 China’s measures on graphite, gallium and germanium has made the prospect of similar measures on rare earths more real, hastening the need for an alternative to Chinese supply. Lily Kuo, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2023 The issue: Do solar panels contain toxic materials such as arsenic, cadmium and gallium? Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, 4 Feb. 2024 Attention has focused on three candidates: gallium oxide, diamond, and aluminum nitride (AlN). IEEE Spectrum, 30 Jan. 2024 Andrew Cunningham The other nice thing about the Laptop 16 design is its charger, which at 180 W could be gigantic but is actually relatively svelte thanks to newfangled gallium nitride (GaN) technology. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 29 Jan. 2024 Instead of halting a rival’s economic activity, restrictions like China’s on gallium and America’s on chip designs might actually accelerate it. Jordan McGillis, National Review, 22 Jan. 2024 Shortly after the new investment restrictions were announced, China slapped export restrictions on two key minerals essential to semiconductor production — gallium and germanium. Richard Escobedo, CBS News, 15 Nov. 2023 This is why, over the past 10 years, manufacturing gallium has become essentially economically nonviable outside China. Laura He, CNN, 11 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gallium.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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.)

First Known Use

1875, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gallium was in 1875

Dictionary Entries Near gallium

Cite this Entry

“Gallium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


gal·​li·​um ˈgal-ē-əm How to pronounce gallium (audio)
: a bluish white metallic element see element

Medical Definition


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

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