sil·​i·​con | \ ˈsi-li-kən How to pronounce silicon (audio) , 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 The silicon ring on top helps prevent the filter from sliding around. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, "The best eco-friendly coffee filters and pods," 5 Feb. 2020 Located 6,800 feet underground inside a nickel mine in Ontario, the initial experiment will use four towers that each contain six detectors made from crystals of silicon germanium to attempt to sense dark matter. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian Magazine, "New Generation of Dark Matter Experiments Gear Up to Search for Elusive Particle," 3 Feb. 2020 The largest obstacle remains durability—perovskite crystals break down faster than silicon. Nathanial Gronewold, Scientific American, "This Material Could Squeeze More Energy from Solar Panels," 13 Jan. 2020 Tiger Lake and DG1 Bryant then switched gears to the silicon inside the devices themselves, with an emphasis on AI. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel confirms 'Tiger Lake' is the next Intel Core processor you need to care about," 7 Jan. 2020 There are already a thousand times as many transistors etched on to silicon every year than there are grains of rice and wheat grown in fields. The Economist, "Can technology plan economies and destroy democracy?," 18 Dec. 2019 Shake up the ennui this year with a silicon spatula bearing an illustration of Giggy, the beloved dog of Lisa Vanderpump, the reality-television doyenne and magnificent restaurateur, drawn by Ms. Vanderpump herself. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies: From Murderous Mermaid Salt to Lamps Made Out of Croissants," 12 Dec. 2019 One note of caution: be sure to get a heat-resistant silicon holder for your cast iron skillet. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Things You Need to Make the Perfect Camp Breakfast," 5 Dec. 2019 Interceptor could not reliably stop rifle rounds, but the addition of silicon might address that weakness. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Improve Body Armor By Adding a Pinch of Silicon," 29 Jan. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of silicon

1817, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for silicon

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

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Time Traveler for silicon

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The first known use of silicon was in 1817

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Statistics for silicon

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Silicon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce silicon (audio)

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 How to pronounce silicon (audio) , 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 How to pronounce silicon (audio) , ˈsil-ə-ˌkän How to pronounce silicon (audio) \

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with silicon

Spanish Central: Translation of silicon

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

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