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noun (1)

pal·​la·​di·​um pə-ˈlā-dē-əm How to pronounce palladium (audio)
capitalized : a statue of Pallas whose preservation was believed to ensure the safety of Troy
plural palladia pə-ˈlā-dē-ə How to pronounce palladium (audio) : something that affords effectual protection or security : safeguard sense 2a
… this political persecution being, somehow or other, the grand palladium of our liberties …Washington Irving
… lend authority to the view that the true palladium of every people is its language …Ferdinand Schevill


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noun (2)

: a silver-white ductile malleable metallic element that is used especially in electrical contacts, as a catalyst, and in alloys see Chemical Elements Table
palladous adjective

Did you know?

Pallas Athena was one of the poetical names given to the Greek goddess Athena (although it's no longer clear what Pallas was supposed to mean), and the original palladium was a statue of Athena that was believed to have the power to protect the ancient city of Troy. When an asteroid belt was discovered between Mars and Jupiter, most of the asteroids were named after figures in Greek mythology, and one of the first to be discovered was named Pallas in 1803. In the same year, scientists isolated a new silvery metal element, which they named palladium in honor of the recently discovered asteroid.

Examples of palladium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Or they may be broken open, and the metallic honeycombs mined for platinum, palladium and rhodium—precious metals that can be sold on the secondary market. Michael Harley, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Catalytic converters, an anti-pollution part installed under every car, are made of several metals — platinum, palladium and rhodium — that spiked in value from 2020 to 2022. Jasmine Cui, NBC News, 5 Nov. 2023 Catalytic converters, cylindrical hunks of metal within the exhaust system of most cars and trucks, transform harmful gases into less-harmful ones using precious metals including rhodium, palladium and platinum. Joe Barrett, WSJ, 29 Oct. 2022 Triplet sensitizers typically contain a heavy metal like palladium, iridium, or platinum. Tracy H. Schloemer, IEEE Spectrum, 19 Sep. 2023 Thieves are after what’s inside of catalytic converters — platinum, rhodium, and palladium, rare earth metals that are more valuable than gold, according to the nonprofit. Natallie Rocha, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Sep. 2023 Higher prices for platinum, palladium and rhodium coupled with supply constraints during the COVID pandemic fueled the catalytic converter crime wave. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 17 Aug. 2023 In addition, the physical gold or physical silver (or platinum or palladium) held in a precious metals IRA confers the substantial tax advantages that come with all IRAs. J.b. Maverick | Iron Monk Solutions, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Jan. 2023 The devices contain the valuable minerals rhodium, palladium and platinum. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, 24 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek palladion, from Pallad-, Pallas

Noun (2)

New Latin, from Pallad-, Pallas, an asteroid

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1803, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of palladium was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near palladium

Cite this Entry

“Palladium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a silver-white metallic element that is used especially in alloys see element

Medical Definition


pal·​la·​di·​um pə-ˈlād-ē-əm How to pronounce palladium (audio)
: a silver-white ductile malleable metallic element of the platinum group that is used especially in electrical contacts, as a catalyst, and in alloys
symbol Pd
see Chemical Elements Table

More from Merriam-Webster on palladium

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