isotope

noun
iso·​tope | \ ˈī-sə-ˌtōp How to pronounce isotope (audio) \

Definition of isotope

1 : any of two or more species of atoms of a chemical element with the same atomic number and nearly identical chemical behavior but with differing atomic mass or mass number and different physical properties
2 : nuclide

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from isotope

isotopic \ ˌī-​sə-​ˈtä-​pik How to pronounce isotopic (audio) , -​ˈtō-​ \ adjective
isotopically \ ˌī-​sə-​ˈtä-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce isotopically (audio) , -​ˈtō-​ \ adverb

Examples of isotope in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Using radiocarbon dating, the scientists analyzed the bones' strontium isotope ratios. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The People Who Built Stonehenge Came From Wales," 3 Aug. 2018 Some Chinese scientists see the moon’s abundant supplies of helium-3, a nonradioactive isotope, as a potential source of nuclear-fusion energy. Trefor Moss, WSJ, "China Pushes for Primacy in Space," 31 Dec. 2018 There’s a mad dash for a vital radioactive isotope that’s used in about 50,000 medical procedures every day in the US, including spotting deadly cancers and looming heart problems. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Scientists racing to save vital medical isotopes imperiled by shabby reactors," 17 Jan. 2018 Relatively low levels of carbon and nitrogen isotopes indicate a diet rich in forest plant material or prey that ate it. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Some dogs were royalty, others were dinner in ancient Mayan culture," 19 Mar. 2018 In addition, the zinc that remained was preferentially composed of heavy isotopes, which do not evaporate as easily, the researchers said. Mike Wall, Space.com, "First Atomic Blast Reveals Clues About Moon Formation," 8 Feb. 2017 By comparing the ratio of these isotopes, archaeologists can determine how long ago the newest rock layer was laid down—this provides a minimum age for the art beneath. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The world’s oldest figurative drawing depicts a wounded animal," 9 Nov. 2018 The analysis of isotopes in beluga bone and teeth by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers showed belugas formerly fed on prey that had little contact with freshwater. Washington Post, "Research shows diet shift of beluga whales in Alaska inlet," 17 June 2018 Inhaling even a dust speck of one of those isotopes can be dangerous. Vince Beiser, WIRED, "The Robot Assault On Fukushima," 26 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of isotope

1913, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for isotope

is- + Greek topos place

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about isotope

Statistics for isotope

Last Updated

25 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for isotope

The first known use of isotope was in 1913

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for isotope

isotope

noun

English Language Learners Definition of isotope

chemistry : any one of various forms in which the atoms of a chemical element can occur

isotope

noun
iso·​tope | \ ˈī-sə-ˌtōp How to pronounce isotope (audio) \

Medical Definition of isotope

1 : any of two or more species of atoms of a chemical element with the same atomic number and position in the periodic table and nearly identical chemical behavior but with differing atomic mass or mass number and different physical properties
2 : nuclide

Other Words from isotope

isotopic \ ˌī-​sə-​ˈtäp-​ik How to pronounce isotopic (audio) , -​ˈtō-​pik How to pronounce isotopic (audio) \ adjective
isotopically \ -​ˈtäp-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce isotopically (audio) , -​ˈtō-​pi-​ How to pronounce isotopically (audio) \ adverb
isotopy \ ˈī-​sə-​ˌtō-​pē How to pronounce isotopy (audio) , ī-​ˈsät-​ə-​pē How to pronounce isotopy (audio) \ noun, plural isotopies

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on isotope

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with isotope

Spanish Central: Translation of isotope

Nglish: Translation of isotope for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of isotope for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about isotope

Comments on isotope

What made you want to look up isotope? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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