mo·​lyb·​de·​num | \-nəm \

Definition of molybdenum 

: a metallic element that resembles chromium and tungsten in many properties, is used especially in strengthening and hardening steel, and is a trace element in plant and animal metabolism — see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of molybdenum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The components not covered by the heat shield are made of a molybdenum alloy, which has a melting point of more than 4,000°F. Brian Resnick, Vox, "NASA is shooting a spaceship at the sun. It might help us solve a huge mystery.," 8 Aug. 2018 Instead, each of the three groups from the US, Spain, and South Korea brought their own faux-nuclear fuel that used lead or molybdenum to stand in for the uranium. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Have nuclear fuel transportation cask, will travel," 3 Aug. 2018 Lead, arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, thallium, and uranium are among the chemicals and heavy metals listed with coal ash deposits. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "An Indiana county is paying a steep price for burying toxic coal ash," 18 May 2018 These include calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, several B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, iodine, selenium, borate, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, beta-carotene, and iron. Korin Miller, Allure, "Do You Need to Take a Multivitamin? Here's What Nutritionists Say," 3 May 2018 The Pebble Partnership wants to dig a massive deposit of gold, copper and molybdenum in and around the sensitive headwaters of Bristol Bay. Erica Martinson, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. House Republicans needle EPA on Pebble mine decision, minus Don Young," 21 Mar. 2018 Other trace elements include iron, manganese, zinc, boron, molybdenum and chlorine. Amy Hall,, "Growing season ahead depends on proper feeding," 7 Mar. 2018 Graphite, molybdenum and other compounds are used. • Pour-point depressants: Just because the 0° F viscosity rating is low doesn't mean the oil will flow readily at low temperatures. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How To Pick The Right Motor Oil For Your Car," 18 Jan. 2018 Meantime, analysts expect a host of minor metals such as manganese, vanadium and molybdenum to become more important in coming years. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Electric-Vehicle Bulls Shake Up Metals Markets," 10 Dec. 2017

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

1794, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for molybdenum

New Latin, from molybdena, a lead ore, molybdenite, molybdenum, from Latin molybdaena galena, from Greek molybdaina, from molybdos lead

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Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

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The first known use of molybdenum was in 1794

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More Definitions for molybdenum


mo·​lyb·​de·​num | \mə-ˈlib-də-nəm \

Kids Definition of molybdenum

: a white metallic chemical element used in some steel to give greater strength and hardness


mo·​lyb·​de·​num | \-də-nəm \

Medical Definition of molybdenum 

: a metallic element that resembles chromium and tungsten in many properties, is used especially in strengthening and hardening steel, and is a trace element in plant and animal metabolism symbol Mo — see Chemical Elements Table

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