xe·​non ˈzē-ˌnän How to pronounce xenon (audio) ˈze- How to pronounce xenon (audio)
: a heavy colorless and relatively inert gaseous element that occurs in air as about one part in 20 million and is used especially in specialized electric lamps (such as flash tubes) and in scientific research see Chemical Elements Table

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The latest is from XENON100, a liquid-xenon scintillation detector under the mountain in Gran Sasso, Italy. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 20 July 2012 Other colors can come from things like LED billboards or high-intensity xenon lights on deep-sea oil platforms and fishing boats. Lee Billings, Scientific American, 20 Dec. 2016 By contrast, LightStrike robots have a powerful xenon UV-C light source capable of damaging the DNA and RNA of viruses in a matter of minutes. Dalvin Brown, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2020 Vast night vision camera is an accessory worth consideration — especially if your father’s vehicle happens to be an older model and not equipped with the latest lighting technology like high-intensity xenon or LED headlights. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, 19 June 2020 Lauched in 2011, their LightStrike robot’s pulsed xenon lamp shoots intense UV light in millisecond flashes, deactivating a whole range of microbes, including bacteria, spores, fungi and viruses. Dinsa Sachan, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Apr. 2020 An earlier version of the experiment with 3.3 tons of xenon cost $30 million. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, 7 Apr. 2020 LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots — already in use at more than 400 hospitals in the United States, according to their manufacturer Xenex Disinfection Services — use xenon ultraviolet light pulses to kill viruses, bacteria and fungi. Elaine Glusac, New York Times, 28 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, dark matter hunters have enhanced an old detector design: an underground vat of liquid xenon, shielded from the noise on Earth’s surface, that’s designed to produce light should a dark matter particle make contact. Wired Staff, Wired, 31 Dec. 2019 See More

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

Word History


Greek, neuter of xenos strange

First Known Use

1898, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of xenon was in 1898

Dictionary Entries Near xenon

Cite this Entry

“Xenon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xenon. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a heavy colorless gaseous element that occurs in air in minute quantities and is used especially in specialized electric lamps see element

Medical Definition


: a heavy, colorless, and relatively inert gaseous element that occurs in air as about one part in 20 million by volume
symbol Xe
see Chemical Elements Table

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