ter·​bi·​um ˈtər-bē-əm How to pronounce terbium (audio)
: a metallic element of the rare-earth group with atomic number 65 that occurs naturally only in combination and that is used especially in alloys for electronic equipment and as a green phosphor (see phosphor sense 2) in electronic displays see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of terbium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dysprosium and terbium, two other rare earths, are sometimes mixed into magnets made for particularly demanding products, like wind turbines and U.S. submarines. Andrew Zaleski, Popular Mechanics, 22 Aug. 2023 That’s all to say that rare earth metals like neodymium (and commonly used additives like dysprosium, terbium, and praesodymium) are pretty important. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 2 June 2023 Elements now suffuse technology like spices in an elaborate dish — iPhones, for instance, contain a dash of indium, a sprinkling of terbium and hints of some 70 other elements. Xiaozhi Lim, Discover Magazine, 16 May 2020 The team positioned a metal tip a few atoms wide less than 1 nanometer above organic molecules that contained iron and terbium atoms. Byscience News Staff, science.org, 1 June 2023 One company sees a business opportunity in the United States's reliance on China for rare earth elements, such as dysprosium, terbium, and yttrium, crucial for the proper functioning of night vision goggles and wind turbines, among scores of other kinds of important hardware. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, 4 Apr. 2021 Four of those elements are named in tribute to the village (ytterbium, erbium, terbium, yttrium). Mark Lorch, Discover Magazine, 9 June 2016 Europium and terbium emit red and green light, respectively, and their market value rose more than 75 percent in the first four months of 2011. Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Discover Magazine, 21 Sep. 2011 Heavy REEs—those with high atomic numbers, including dysprosium, yttrium, and terbium—are most commonly extracted from masses of clay formed through eons of weathering of igneous rocks such as granite. Bydennis Normile, science.org, 1 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'terbium.' 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 Ytterby, Sweden

First Known Use

1843, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of terbium was in 1843

Dictionary Entries Near terbium

Cite this Entry

“Terbium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terbium. Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ter·​bi·​um ˈtər-bē-əm How to pronounce terbium (audio)
: a rare metallic element see element

Medical Definition


ter·​bi·​um ˈtər-bē-əm How to pronounce terbium (audio)
: a usually trivalent metallic element of the rare-earth group
symbol Tb
see Chemical Elements Table

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