helium

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

The wavelengths that were close to the energy required to drive helium's electrons from their normal energy state to a higher energy state were strongly bent. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Gas jets make beautiful lens for light we can’t normally focus," 21 Dec. 2018 Hydrogen glows red, helium glows yellow, and cyanogen glows green. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Why Is the 'Christmas Comet' Green?," 18 Dec. 2018 In universes with a weaker weak force, neutrons would decay more slowly, leading to more helium. Charles Q. Choi, Space.com, "Why Alternate Universes Might Also Host Life Around their Stars," 26 Sep. 2018 My parents were very focused on education, but growing up in that place, the helium plant was one of the biggest employers there. Eric Johnson, Recode, "For some under-represented people in tech, life is getting better. For others, this is the ‘dark timeline.’," 5 Sep. 2018 There are considerations about keeping the blimp partially inflated to save on helium costs. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "‘Baby Trump’ blimp arrives on Vashon Island," 20 Aug. 2018 The gas giant is made out of the same basic ingredients as the sun — hydrogen and helium — and is surrounded by an array of geologically diverse moons. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Astronomers discovered 10 new moons of Jupiter. Where have they been hiding?," 17 July 2018 Still, prior work has suggested that hydrogen and helium molecules may pass through the sails without resulting in such effects. Charles Q. Choi, Scientific American, "Building Sails for Interstellar Probes Will Be Tough, But Not Impossible," 10 May 2018 The sun and all other stars generate light by nuclear fusion, smashing hydrogen ions together to form helium, a process that releases energy. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 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

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Time Traveler for helium

The first known use of helium was in 1871

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More Definitions for helium

helium

noun

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

helium

noun
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

helium

noun
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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