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

Jupiter’s stripes and swirls are cold, windy clouds of ammonia and water, floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. Doreen Christensen, sun-sentinel.com, "See breathtaking views of Jupiter and its moons with binoculars on Monday," 6 June 2019 The atmospheres on terrestrial Venus and Mars are mostly carbon dioxide, while the thick atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are made primarily of hydrogen and helium. National Geographic, "The solar system, explained," 27 Mar. 2019 On April 25, at 10:50 a.m. local time, a white helium balloon ascended from Wanaka, New Zealand, and lifted Angela Olinto’s hopes into the stratosphere. Quanta Magazine, "A Cosmic-Ray Hunter Takes to the Sky," 27 Apr. 2017 Related Coverage Party City said its total gross profit margin fell 0.2 percentage points to 40.6% in 2018 due to higher freight and distribution costs and increased pressure from commodity prices, including higher helium costs. Tatyana Shumsky, WSJ, "Party City CFO to Leave for Edgewell Personal Care," 28 Feb. 2019 Many of the web searches referred to links on suicide and helium suppliers. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Florida man stages suicide with 'CSI: Las Vegas' balloon scheme to make it appear as a murder, cops say," 19 July 2018 Made hot enough for long enough, hydrogen atoms can fuse together to form helium, like in the center of stars, releasing in the process a tremendous amount of energy. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Trump administration must decide whether to back the biggest nuclear fusion project ever," 7 Mar. 2018 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

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

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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