mercury

noun
mer·​cu·​ry | \ ˈmər-kyə-rē, -k(ə-)rē\
plural mercuries

Definition of mercury

1a capitalized : a Roman god of commerce, eloquence, travel, cunning, and theft who serves as messenger to the other gods — compare hermes
b often capitalized, archaic : a bearer of messages or news or a conductor of travelers

2 [ Middle English mercurie, from Medieval Latin mercurius, from Latin, the god ]

a : a silver-white poisonous heavy metallic element that is liquid at ordinary temperatures and is used especially in batteries, in dental amalgam, and in scientific instruments

called also quicksilver

— see Chemical Elements Table
b : the column of mercury in a thermometer or barometer also : temperature the mercury rose above 70 degrees
3 capitalized : the planet nearest the sun — see Planets Table

Examples of mercury in a Sentence

In the summer, the mercury can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recent Examples on the Web

Before the regulations were introduced, coal plants in the U.S. were pumping out 33 tons of toxic mercury each year, most heavily in Texas and Ohio. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "EPA Wants To Hollow Out Regulations That Safeguard Against Mercury Poisoning," 28 Dec. 2018 Researchers found that after six months, people who met regularly with the community health workers through their church saw a net reduction of 5.8 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) in systolic blood pressure. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "Churches Can Help Reduce Heart Disease, Study Says," 9 Oct. 2018 And, indeed, recent soil testing confirms high levels of mercury in the soil around the tomb (which is the largest in the world at about 22 square miles). Hanya Yanagihara, Condé Nast Traveler, "50 Things to Do in Asia Before You Die," 24 Sep. 2018 Afternoon school bus service was canceled Monday in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where the mercury climbed to 105 degrees (41 Celsius). Anita Snow, The Seattle Times, "US Southwest sizzles as temperatures near 120 degrees," 23 July 2018 Traces of mercury enabled the team to map the contours of the original snapshots and produce digital copies of them. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Particle Accelerator Reveals Hidden Faces in Damaged 19th-Century Daguerreotype Portraits," 10 July 2018 The mercury climbed to 91 at Joliet and 90 at Midway, though the city's official thermometer at O'Hare fell just shy, registering 89. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Sudden summer with string of 90s on the way," 26 May 2018 More recently, a study of 130 years of sea birds has demonstrated rising levels of mercury in the oceans, which affects not just fish and birds, but also humans. National Geographic, "One Obsessed Musician, 299 Birds, and a Very Weird Crime," 19 May 2018 The idea of using mercury as a spacecraft fuel is not exactly new. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Space Startup Apollo Fusion Wants To Use Mercury as a Fuel—Report," 20 Nov. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for mercury

Latin Mercurius, Roman god and the planet

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Statistics for mercury

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for mercury

The first known use of mercury was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for mercury

mercury

noun

English Language Learners Definition of mercury

: a silver metal that is liquid at normal temperatures

: the mercury in a thermometer that shows the air's temperature

Mercury : the planet that is closest to the sun

mercury

noun
mer·​cu·​ry | \ ˈmər-kyə-rē \

Kids Definition of mercury

1 : a heavy silvery white poisonous metallic chemical element that is liquid at ordinary temperatures
2 : the column of mercury in a thermometer or barometer
3 capitalized : the planet that is nearest the sun and has a diameter of about 3000 miles (4700 kilometers)

mercury

noun
mer·​cu·​ry | \ ˈmər-kyə-rē, -k(ə-)rē \
plural mercuries

Medical Definition of mercury

1 : a heavy silver-white poisonous metallic element that is liquid at ordinary temperatures and used especially in scientific instruments symbol Hg

called also quicksilver

— see Chemical Elements Table
2 : a pharmaceutical preparation containing mercury or a compound of it

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More from Merriam-Webster on mercury

Spanish Central: Translation of mercury

Nglish: Translation of mercury for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mercury for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mercury

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