polonium

noun
po·​lo·​ni·​um | \ pə-ˈlō-nē-əm How to pronounce polonium (audio) \

Definition of polonium

: a radioactive metallic element that is similar chemically to tellurium and bismuth, occurs especially in pitchblende and radium-lead residues, and emits an alpha particle to form an isotope of lead — see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of polonium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In 2006 Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian defector to the U.K., was poisoned in London with polonium from a Russian nuclear facility. Michael B. Mukasey, WSJ, "The Russia Indictments: Why Now?," 16 July 2018 One of them was Andrei Lugovoi, who in 2006 slipped some radioactive polonium into the tea of Mr. Litvinenko in a Mayfair restaurant, London police say. Alan Cullison, WSJ, "A Trio of Wealthy Russians Made an Enemy of Putin. Now They’re All Dead.," 10 Oct. 2018 The killers of Alexander Litvinenko, who died of polonium poisoning in 2006, left a trail of radiation across London. The Economist, "A new Novichok poisoning in Britain," 5 July 2018 Russia has a track record: in London in 2006 its agents assassinated Alexander Litvinenko, another ex-spy, by slipping polonium into his tea. The Economist, "Conspiracy theories from, and about, Russia," 14 Apr. 2018 In 2006, another former Russian spy, Alexander V. Litvinenko, was fatally poisoned in London with a radioactive element, polonium 210, an assassination that Britain contends was directed by Moscow, which Russia denies. Michael Wolgelenter And Richard PÉrez-peÑa, New York Times, "Yulia Skripal Released From U.K. Hospital After Poisoning," 10 Apr. 2018 British forensic scientists were ultimately able to determine which Russian reactor the polonium had come from. Tom Tugendhat, Time, "Russia Is Now a Rogue State. We Must Treat It Like One," 15 Mar. 2018 Other evidence includes intelligence that Russia has experimented with chemical agents for assassinations and previously targeted former Russian agents—including Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned with radioactive polonium in London in 2006. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Truth and Lies in Britain and Russia," 4 Apr. 2018 The attack evoked memories of the 2006 murder with polonium of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London, which was linked to Mr. Putin. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Vladimir Taunts the West," 15 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polonium.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of polonium

1898, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for polonium

New Latin, from Medieval Latin Polonia

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about polonium

Dictionary Entries near polonium

Polonian

Polonism

Polonist

polonium

Polonius

polonization

polonize

Statistics for polonium

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for polonium

The first known use of polonium was in 1898

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for polonium

polonium

noun
po·​lo·​ni·​um | \ pə-ˈlō-nē-əm How to pronounce polonium (audio) \

Medical Definition of polonium

: a radioactive metallic element that is similar chemically to tellurium and bismuth, occurs especially in pitchblende and radium-lead residues, and emits an alpha particle to form an isotope of lead symbol Po — see Chemical Elements Table

More from Merriam-Webster on polonium

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polonium

Comments on polonium

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

WORD OF THE DAY

highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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