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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 The same goes for the use of europium and terbium in lighting applications. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 20 May 2022 China processes more than half of the world’s cobalt, lithium, and the class of rare-earth elements (REEs) that includes neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium, and terbium . . . Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 12 Mar. 2022 Europium and terbium, for example, are needed to make HD screens; zinc and tin help make touch-responsive surfaces; and lithium is used in batteries — just to name a few. Rachel Ramirez And Clare Duffy, CNN, 3 Oct. 2021 NdFeB magnets containing the heavy rare earth dysprosium and sometimes terbium are particularly useful, because the presence of heavy rare earths improves the magnet’s ability to withstand high temperatures. Mary Hui, Quartz, 14 May 2021 Adding a heavy rare earth like dysprosium and sometimes terbium makes the magnet more temperature stable, and suitable for use in offshore wind turbines where maintenance costs are high. Mary Hui, Quartz, 23 Apr. 2021 During the last 34 million years, the fossils slowly absorbed yttrium, europium, terbium, and dysprosium from the fluid trapped in the mud. Jennifer Frazer, Scientific American, 21 Sep. 2020 Greenland has some of the biggest deposits of neodymium, dysprosium, terbium, praseodymium, and uranium. David Clark Scott, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Aug. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'terbium.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 9 Dec. 2022.

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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