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 the Litvinenko poisoning case, the U.K. inquiry found that the polonium was intentionally administered to Mr. Litvinenko by Andrei Lugovoi, a former FSB colleague, and Dmitry Kovtun, a Russian businessman. Alan Cullison, WSJ, "Former Russian Spy Poisoned by Nerve Agent, U.K. Police Say," 7 Mar. 2018 Litvinenko was allegedly slipped a dose of the radioactive isotope polonium through a cup of tea and developed radiation poisoning soon afterward. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Pentagon Wants VR To Train for Nuclear War," 9 July 2019 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

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.

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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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17 Sep 2019

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The first known use of polonium was in 1898

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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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