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

Definition of polonium

: a radioactive metallic element that has similar chemical properties to tellurium and bismuth, is produced mainly from the radioactive decay of neutron-irradiated bismuth, 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, the U.K. blamed Russian agents for the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, who died after being exposed to radioactive polonium. Bloomberg.com, 28 Mar. 2022 Why Marie: The first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Physics, Marie Curie is best known for her discovery of both polonium and radium, as well as fundamentally changing our understanding of radioactivity. Yola Robert, Forbes, 31 Jan. 2022 Marie Curie was a Nobel-prize-winning French physicist who discovered polonium and radium — later leading to the development of X-rays and the establishment of radiation therapy for cancer. Joanna Dutra, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 He was killed in 2006 after drinking a cup of tea that had been laced with the deadly radioactive metal, polonium. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 But Kate’s Terminator resemblance also includes her left eye’s red and distended pupil, evidence of the polonium poisoning that will kill her in 24 hours. Amy Nicholson, Variety, 3 Sep. 2021 Only five women are currently buried at the Pantheon including Nobel Prize physicist and chemist Marie Curie who discovered radium and polonium. Ibtissem Guenfoud, ABC News, 23 Aug. 2021 So Soviet engineers who worked on military tanks contributed to the design of the chassis, while nuclear specialists provided a heater fueled by highly radioactive polonium. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, 18 July 2021 The couple discovered polonium (named after Marie’s homeland, the Kingdom of Poland) and radium within a few months. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 16 Mar. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of polonium

1898, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for polonium

New Latin, from Medieval Latin Polonia

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The first known use of polonium was in 1898

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Cite this Entry

“Polonium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polonium. Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for polonium


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


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