ger·​ma·​ni·​um | \ (ˌ)jər-ˈmā-nē-əm How to pronounce germanium (audio) \

Definition of germanium

: a grayish-white hard brittle metalloid element that resembles silicon and is used especially in optical and semiconductor materials and as a catalyst — see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of germanium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Most of the worries about solar panel production have focused on the elements that go into the panels themselves, like gallium, cadmium, germanium, indium, selenium, and tellurium. Doug Johnson, Ars Technica, 25 Jan. 2022 The products can contain volcanic ash, titanium, tourmaline, zeolite, germanium, and monazite sand and may also contain naturally occurring radioactive elements, including uranium and thorium. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 17 Dec. 2021 Using materials like silicon and germanium, Dr. Shockley and two other scientists had shown how to build the tiny transistors that would one day be used to store and move information in the form of an electrical signal. New York Times, 20 Nov. 2021 For a time, scientists thought that would be germanium—an element that’s a superior semiconductor to silicon. Gregory Barber, Wired, 21 July 2021 In the mid-1950s, a revolutionary solid-state transistor was developed using silicon instead of germanium. Jim Witham, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2021 After all, germanium is a better semiconductor than silicon, but silicon still rules the roost. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 7 Dec. 2020 To test this idea, the researchers built a detector out of a crystal of germanium the size of a coffee cup. George Musser, Science | AAAS, 7 Sep. 2020 Physicists hope that these experiments — or rival WIMP detectors that use materials such as germanium and argon — will make the first direct detection of dark matter. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, 8 Oct. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of germanium

1886, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for germanium

New Latin, from Medieval Latin Germania Germany

Learn More About germanium

Time Traveler for germanium

Time Traveler

The first known use of germanium was in 1886

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near germanium



German ivy

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for germanium

Last Updated

6 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Germanium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for germanium


ger·​ma·​ni·​um | \ jər-ˈmā-nē-əm How to pronounce germanium (audio) \

Kids Definition of germanium

: a white hard brittle element used as a semiconductor


ger·​ma·​ni·​um | \ (ˌ)jər-ˈmā-nē-əm How to pronounce germanium (audio) \

Medical Definition of germanium

: a grayish white hard brittle metalloid element that resembles silicon and is used as a semiconductor symbol Ge — see Chemical Elements Table

More from Merriam-Webster on germanium

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!