sil·​i·​cate ˈsi-lə-ˌkāt How to pronounce silicate (audio)
: a salt or ester derived from a silicic acid
especially : any of numerous insoluble often complex metal salts that contain silicon and oxygen in the anion, constitute the largest class of minerals, and are used in building materials (such as cement, bricks, and glass)

Examples of silicate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The analyses suggested that the boundary researchers had previously identified as the top of the core was in fact a layer of molten silicate. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Oct. 2023 Earlier, it was thought that when Mars first formed, it was covered with an enormous magma ocean that eventually turned into a heterogeneous mantle full of silicates, iron, and radioactive elements that produced heat. Elizabeth Rayne, Ars Technica, 25 Oct. 2023 One example of such extraterrestrial iron, which was typically found in meteorites in conjunction with nickel or silicate minerals, in tools was recently rediscovered in the depths of Switzerland’s Bern History Museum. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, 3 Aug. 2023 If planetesimals were first formed of primordial disk material in which metals and silicates were intimately mixed, then only high temperatures and at least partial internal melting would allow the metal to sink to the interior and form a core. Linda T. Elkins-Tanton, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2016 Most of the nuggets inside Allende were darker, rich in glassy silicate minerals that form when molten liquid cools rapidly. Douglas Fox, Discover Magazine, 16 May 2017 The sodium silicate reacts with the calcium hydroxide embedded in the concrete to form a malleable gel that covers the holes and hardens within a week of activation. Jeremy Jacquot, Discover Magazine, 3 Sep. 2010 Researchers determined that metallic clouds, made mostly of silicate (which makes up sand and glass) as well as titanium, blanket the exoplanet, reflecting light and giving the world its unusual luster. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 July 2023 It’s mostly composed of silicates, compounds of silicon and oxygen. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 June 2023 See More

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

Word History


silicic (acid)

First Known Use

1811, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of silicate was in 1811

Dictionary Entries Near silicate

Cite this Entry

“Silicate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


sil·​i·​cate ˈsil-i-ˌkāt How to pronounce silicate (audio)
: a chemical salt that consists of a metal combined with silicon and oxygen and is used especially in building materials (as bricks)

Medical Definition


sil·​i·​cate ˈsil-ə-ˌkāt How to pronounce silicate (audio) ˈsil-i-kət How to pronounce silicate (audio)
: a salt or ester derived from a silicic acid
especially : any of numerous insoluble often complex metal salts that contain silicon and oxygen in the anion and constitute the largest class of minerals

More from Merriam-Webster on silicate

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