osmium

noun

os·​mi·​um ˈäz-mē-əm How to pronounce osmium (audio)
: a blue-gray or blue-black hard brittle very heavy polyvalent metallic element with a high melting point that is used especially as a catalyst and in hard alloys see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of osmium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Platinum is part of the six platinum-group metals (PGM), including palladium, iridium, rhodium, ruthenium, and osmium. Laxmi Corp, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Sep. 2023 Your pen nib is probably osmium. Paul Theroux, Harper’s Magazine , 17 Aug. 2022 The fusion crust, noted the team, included small amounts of platinum group elements so far identified only as an alloy of osmium, iridium and platinum — an unexpected finding because the process of fusion crust formation is usually too fast for the elements to accumulate. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2013

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'osmium.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Greek osmḗ "smell, odor" + -ium; osmḗ going back to *od-s-mā, noun derivative from the base of ózein "to smell, give off an odor" — more at odor

Note: The word osmium was introduced by the English chemist Smithson Tennant (1761-1815) in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 1804, Part II, p. 416: "When the alkaline solution [obtained by dissolving impure platinum] is first formed, by adding water to the dry alkaline mass in the crucible, a pungent and peculiar smell is immediately perceived. This smell, as I afterwards discovered, arises from the extrication of a very volatile metallic oxide; and, as this smell is one of its most distinguishing characters, I should on that account incline to call the metal Osmium." In the same report Tennant discussed and named the element iridium (see iridium).

First Known Use

1804, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of osmium was in 1804

Dictionary Entries Near osmium

Cite this Entry

“Osmium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/osmium. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

osmium

noun
os·​mi·​um ˈäz-mē-əm How to pronounce osmium (audio)
: a hard brittle blue-gray or blue-black metallic element with a high melting point that is the heaviest metal known see element

Medical Definition

osmium

noun
os·​mi·​um ˈäz-mē-əm How to pronounce osmium (audio)
: a hard brittle blue-gray or blue-black polyvalent metallic element of the platinum group with a high melting point that is the heaviest metal known and that is used especially as a catalyst and in hard alloys
symbol Os
see Chemical Elements Table

More from Merriam-Webster on osmium

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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