lith·​i·​um | \ˈli-thē-əm \

Definition of lithium 

1 : a soft silver-white element of the alkali metal group that is the lightest metal known and that is used especially in alloys and glass, in chemical synthesis, and in storage batteries — see Chemical Elements Table

2 : a salt of lithium (such as lithium carbonate) used in psychiatric medicine

Examples of lithium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 104-horsepower, 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, a 360-volt (60-hp) electric motor and a 59-kW lithium ion polymer battery with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Kia Niro PHEV: The future of plug-and-play," 13 July 2018 This leads to a rise in the lithium levels in the body, which can be toxic. Anna Groves, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Meds leave mentally ill vulnerable during rising temps, so take care with the Milwaukee-area heat wave," 29 June 2018 Doubling energy density might take between six and eight years and would require creating lithium anodes. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Musk promises manufacturing, self-driving, battery breakthroughs—and profits," 6 June 2018 The new lithium-silicon batteries, nearing production-ready status thanks to startups including Sila Technologies and Angstron Materials, will leapfrog marginal improvements in existing lithium-ion batteries. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Lithium-Silicon Batteries Could Give Your Phone 30% More Power," 18 Mar. 2018 Aluminum is abundant and has three times the energy intensity of lithium, Korotchenkova said. Yuliya Fedorinova,, "Russian Tycoon Joins Hunt for Cheap Batteries Using Sodium," 3 Apr. 2018 America relies on imports for 70% of its lithium, and on imports and releases from the National Defence Stockpile for 75-80% of its cobalt. The Economist, "A scramble for the minerals used in renewable energy is under way," 15 Mar. 2018 The weapon is powered by a lithium battery capable of supplying power for up to a thousand two-second shots. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Claims to Have a Laser Assault Rifle That Can Set Clothes on Fire," 3 July 2018 Today, a new fire risk is rising: lithium batteries brought on board by passengers. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Accidents that changed aviation: Controlling in-flight fires," 10 June 2018

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

1818, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lithium

New Latin, from lithia oxide of lithium, from Greek lithos

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Statistics for lithium

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for lithium

The first known use of lithium was in 1818

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English Language Learners Definition of lithium

: a soft silver-white element that is the lightest metal known


lith·​i·​um | \ˈlith-ē-əm \

Medical Definition of lithium 

1 : a soft silver-white element of the alkali metal group that is the lightest metal known and that is used in chemical synthesis and in storage batteries symbol Li — see Chemical Elements Table

2 : a lithium salt and especially lithium carbonate used in psychiatric medicine

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More from Merriam-Webster on lithium

Spanish Central: Translation of lithium

Nglish: Translation of lithium for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lithium for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lithium

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