sil·​i·​con | \ˈsi-li-kən, ˈsi-lə-ˌkän\

Definition of silicon 

: a tetravalent nonmetallic element that occurs combined as the most abundant element next to oxygen in the earth's crust and is used especially in ferrosilicon for steelmaking, in other alloys, and in semiconductors — see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of silicon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Unlike metals, silicon resists corrosion and remains stable when temperatures change. Michael Clerizo, WSJ, "The Future of Watches: 3-D Printed Cases and Robot Horologists," 31 July 2018 Each part was made out of silicon that was shaped and molded to match Dalton’s leg. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Fecal Matter Has Made Its Photoshopped Skin Shoes Into Actual Wearable Heels—And They're $10,000," 24 Oct. 2018 Like, 300 percent, which can cause the silicon to break apart. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Your Gadgets' Battery Life Could Be About to Get Much Better," 19 Oct. 2018 At least for now, silicon PV has won the market race. David Roberts, Vox, "Robots, floating power plants, and 2-sided panels, oh my: solar tech’s near future," 29 Aug. 2018 Since the silicon factory days of the 1970s, people have struggled to draw clear lines around Silicon Valley. Owen Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, "Draw your own vision of Silicon Valley," 12 Mar. 2018 The company bakes silicon and germanium at extremely high temperatures, up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, which allows them to realign atoms into a perfect diamond lattice structure. Paul Brinkmann,, "Vibration from Orlando City Stadium construction damaged high-tech business next door, lawsuit says," 31 May 2018 These include crystalline silicon and molybdenum disulfide. Charles Q. Choi, Scientific American, "Building Sails for Interstellar Probes Will Be Tough, But Not Impossible," 10 May 2018 Some analysts have suggested new silicon is needed to make smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS operating system more competitive against the market leading Apple Watch. Mike Freeman,, "New Qualcomm chip aims to power smartwatches for kids," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'silicon.' 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 silicon

1817, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for silicon

New Latin silica + English -on (as in carbon)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about silicon

Statistics for silicon

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for silicon

The first known use of silicon was in 1817

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for silicon



English Language Learners Definition of silicon

: a chemical element that is found in the Earth's crust and is used especially in computers and electronics


sil·​i·​con | \ˈsi-li-kən, ˈsi-lə-ˌkän\

Kids Definition of silicon

: a chemical element that next to oxygen is the most common element in the earth's crust and is used especially in electronic devices


sil·​i·​con | \ˈsil-i-kən, ˈsil-ə-ˌkän \

Medical Definition of silicon 

: a tetravalent nonmetallic element that occurs combined as the most abundant element next to oxygen in the earth's crust and is used especially in alloys symbol Si — see Chemical Elements Table

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on silicon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with silicon

Spanish Central: Translation of silicon

Nglish: Translation of silicon for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about silicon

Comments on silicon

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


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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