lith·​i·​um | \ ˈli-thē-əm How to pronounce lithium (audio) \

Definition of lithium

1 : a chemical element of the alkali metal group that is the lightest metal known and that is used especially in alloys and glass, in mechanical lubricants, 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 Pouring massive resources into batteries and battery management, the billionaire entrepreneur started selling increasingly large numbers of electric cars powered by lithium-ion energy packs that were powerful, rechargeable and reliable., "They turn ’49 Mercurys and Shelby Cobras into EVs, one Tesla carcass at a time," 15 Nov. 2019 Previous SlideNext Slide Cargo space is also compromised, thanks to that second bank of lithium-ion cells. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The Polestar 1 is a turbocharged, supercharged, plug-in hybrid enigma," 5 Nov. 2019 After the crash, the Tesla’s lithium ion battery caught fire. Reis Thebault, Washington Post, "A man died in a burning Tesla because its futuristic doors wouldn’t open, lawsuit alleges," 24 Oct. 2019 After the crash, the Tesla's lithium ion battery caught fire. The Washington Post, oregonlive, "Florida man died in a burning Tesla because its futuristic doors wouldn’t open, lawsuit alleges," 23 Oct. 2019 In 2017, spacewalkers replaced the 12 right-side inboard solar array batteries with six lithium-ion units. William Harwood, CBS News, "NASA's historic all-female spacewalk, by the numbers," 17 Oct. 2019 Solid state batteries could one day allow all sorts of products—cars and vacuums included—to go farther without a charge compared with their lithium-ion cousins; for now, though, the solid-state batteries are much more expensive to make. Wired, "Dyson Sucks the Air Out of Its Electric-Car Dreams," 10 Oct. 2019 The lithium ions sidle up to the metal atoms at the cathode. Science News Staff, Science | AAAS, "Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to development of lithium batteries," 9 Oct. 2019 That’s why so many spacewalks are needed this time to replace 12 old nickel-hydrogen batteries with six new lithium-ion versions., "Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan removed three old batteries and installed two new ones delivered just a week ago, getting a jump on future work. These new lithium-ion batteries are so powerful that only one is needed for every two old ones, which are original to the orbiting lab.," 7 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for lithium

Time Traveler

The first known use of lithium was in 1818

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Statistics for lithium

Last Updated

25 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Lithium.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More Definitions for lithium


How to pronounce lithium (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lithium

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


lith·​i·​um | \ ˈlith-ē-əm How to pronounce lithium (audio) \

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

Comments on lithium

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


to constrict the range or activity of

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