sa·​mar·​i·​um sə-ˈmer-ē-əm How to pronounce samarium (audio)
: a silvery-white lustrous metallic element of the rare-earth group that is used especially in permanent magnets see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of samarium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As researchers discovered decades ago, magnetic strength can be greatly improved by adding to the crystalline lattice atoms with unpaired electrons in the 4f orbital—notably the rare-earth elements neodymium, samarium, and dysprosium. IEEE Spectrum, 22 Mar. 2023 In just six months the price of samarium oxide quadrupled, to more than $50 a pound in May of this year, owing to its property as a permanent supermagnet when alloyed with cobalt. Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Discover Magazine, 21 Sep. 2011 In that year, Frenchman Eugène-Anatole Demarçay isolated the element as an impurity in samples of another rare earth, samarium (named, indirectly, after Russian mine official V. E. Samarsky-Bykhovets). Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Discover Magazine, 21 Sep. 2011 Japanese scientist Masato Sagawa, for example—who just won the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering—developed the NdFeB magnet in the 1980s to replace the costly cobalt in samarium-cobalt magnets. Mary Hui, Quartz, 7 Mar. 2022 Known as the samarium-cobalt (SmCo) magnet, it was developed in the 1960s in the US and was far more powerful than previous permanent magnets. Mary Hui, Quartz, 14 May 2021 The first rare earth magnet to have been developed was based on the rare earth samarium and the transition metal cobalt. Mary Hui, Quartz, 14 May 2021 To the researchers' shock, perfectly doubled conductance happened in their samarium hexaboride experiment. Rachel Crowell, Scientific American, 9 July 2019 Even the more prized magnetic elements such as neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium and samarium are humdrum enough that Apple Inc. uses rare-earth magnets to make its power cables stick in place. Washington Post, 31 May 2019 See More

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

Word History


New Latin, from French samarskite

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of samarium was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near samarium

Cite this Entry

“Samarium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


sa·​mar·​i·​um sə-ˈmer-ē-əm How to pronounce samarium (audio)
: a pale gray shiny metallic element see element

Medical Definition


sa·​mar·​i·​um sə-ˈmer-ē-əm, -ˈmar- How to pronounce samarium (audio)
: a pale gray lustrous metallic element used especially in alloys that form permanent magnets
symbol Sm
see Chemical Elements Table

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