he·li·um | \ˈhē-lē-əm, ˈhēl-yəm\

Definition of helium 

: a light colorless inert gaseous element found especially in natural gases and used chiefly for inflating airships and balloons, in lamps, in cryogenic research, 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

Carbon stars, such as red giants, create their namesake element by fusing helium atoms in their cores, eventually pumping the carbon out into space. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Our Galaxy Is Really Greasy and Smells Like Moth Balls," 28 June 2018 Guilbe definitely had some helium as the spring finally warmed up and the Draft approached, putting up a season that put him in contention for the state's Gatorade Player of the Year award. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Day 3 draft tracker: Padres start with college catcher, HS second baseman," 6 June 2018 An investigation of Abrahamson’s computer and phone revealed receipts and emails for weather balloons, helium tanks and rubber bands. Tonya Alanez, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Murder was elaborately staged suicide, police say," 13 July 2018 Within ten days of speaking with Harris, the 81-year-old Smith was found dead in a hotel room, with a bag over his head attached with rubber bands and two helium tanks. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 One of the most significant changes is the use of stronger high-pressure helium tanks, known as composite overwrapped pressure vessels, or COPVs, that are submerged in the rocket's liquid oxygen propellant tanks. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX set to launch its first "block 5" Falcon 9 rocket," 10 May 2018 There’s a hissing noise, and the helium starts flowing. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google," 11 July 2018 Rides on a new helium observation balloon that is planned for the island will cost $39 to $99 for adults. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "Royal Caribbean unveils price list for revamped private island Perfect Day at CocoCay," 14 June 2018 Blue and gold helium balloons battled the wind along the property’s immaculate walkways. Beth Spotswood, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF’s grand old man of fly-fishing in Golden Gate Park," 16 May 2018

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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Statistics for helium

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for helium

The first known use of helium was in 1871

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More Definitions for helium



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 \

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 \

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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