he·​li·​um | \ ˈhē-lē-əm How to pronounce helium (audio) , ˈhēl-yəm \

Definition of helium

: a chemical element of the noble gas group found especially in natural gases and used chiefly for inflating airships and balloons, as a coolant for superconductors, and as a component of inert atmospheres (as in welding) — see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of helium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Flagstaff: An agreement to drop a lawsuit over federal oil and gas leases in eastern Arizona won’t do much to stop companies from exploring for helium in the region. USA TODAY, "Cold case cards, firework record, monkey treatment: News from around our 50 states," 11 Feb. 2020 The plasma is made of deuterium, a heavier isotope of hydrogen, and the goal is to bring it to temperatures and pressures at which colliding nuclei can fuse to form helium. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "After decades of decline, the U.S. national fusion lab seeks a rebirth," 6 Feb. 2020 Citizens for Stephanie Kunze expensed $7 for helium in July and another $5 in September via purchases at the Geer Gas Corporation of Columbus. cleveland, "Helium, honey, hair products: Ohio pols’ odd campaign expenses," 6 Feb. 2020 The paper doesn’t specify the gas, but existing coolants include carbon dioxide and helium. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Russian Scientists Reveal Plans for Fusion-Fission Reactor," 30 Jan. 2020 When the hydrogen has totally run out, the helium core begins to get squished by gravity. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Skywatch: There’s a star in all of us," 15 Dec. 2019 In order to visualize the gas, the camera uses helium to cool the sensor to the temperature of liquid nitrogen, around minus 200 degrees Celsius. New York Times, "How We Made Images of Methane, an Invisible Gas," 13 Dec. 2019 While tariffs drove the forecast reduction, Dollar Tree also cited higher wages in its distribution centers, a global helium shortage, and more sales of lower-margin items, among other issues. BostonGlobe.com, "Head of Trump’s inaugural committee pressured to resign as firm’s CEO," 27 Nov. 2019 For the real thrill-seekers, guests can soar over the island on 1,600 feet of zipline or take a helium balloon ride to see the highest vantage point in all of the Bahamas. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Royal Caribbean currently offering cruises from Galveston to its magical private island, CocoCay," 13 Jan. 2020

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

1871, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for helium

New Latin, from Greek hēlios

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Time Traveler for helium

Time Traveler

The first known use of helium was in 1871

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Statistics for helium

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Helium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/helium. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for helium


How to pronounce helium (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of helium

: a chemical element that is a colorless gas, that is lighter than air, and that is often used to fill balloons


he·​li·​um | \ ˈhē-lē-əm How to pronounce helium (audio) \

Kids Definition of helium

: a very light gaseous chemical element that is found in various natural gases, will not burn, and is used in balloons


he·​li·​um | \ ˈhē-lē-əm How to pronounce helium (audio) \

Medical Definition of helium

: a light colorless nonflammable gaseous element found especially in natural gases and used chiefly for inflating airships and balloons, for filling incandescent lamps, and for cryogenic research symbol He — see Chemical Elements Table

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More from Merriam-Webster on helium

Spanish Central: Translation of helium

Nglish: Translation of helium for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of helium for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about helium

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