yt·​tri·​um ˈi-trē-əm How to pronounce yttrium (audio)
: a metallic element with atomic number 39 usually included in the rare-earth group that occurs usually with other rare earth elements in minerals and is used especially in phosphors, YAG lasers, alloys, and treatments for certain cancers see Chemical Elements Table

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The manganese crusts are also estimated to contain other rare earth metals, such as neodymium, yttrium and dysprosium. Laura Paddison, CNN, 30 Jan. 2023 Bone doesn't allow the ultrasonic sound waves through, but this special blend of yttrium and zirconium does. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 2 Aug. 2017 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,, 1 Nov. 2022 Another challenge is that 40% of the critical materials used in an EV – a long list including everything from aluminum to yttrium, a rare earth element – must come from the U.S. or from nations that have a free trade agreement with the U.S. Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Aug. 2022 Solids are memorable The case for ions in crystal, like ytterbium in yttrium-aluminum-garnet, is a bit different. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 30 Nov. 2019 Rare earths include elements such as neodymium, used in magnets, and yttrium, used for electronics. Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2019 Nitrogen is put in diamond, phosphorous in silicon, and ytterbium in yttrium-aluminum-garnet crystals. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 30 Nov. 2019 That year, Orenstein and his colleagues at Bell Labs studied a cuprate called yttrium barium copper oxide and found that, like Bednorz and Müller’s sample, its electrical resistance dropped linearly as it was cooled toward its critical temperature. Quanta Magazine, 19 Nov. 2018 See More

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

Word History


New Latin, from yttria yttrium oxide (Y2O3), irregular from Ytterby, town in southern Sweden

First Known Use

1814, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of yttrium was in 1814

Dictionary Entries Near yttrium

Cite this Entry

“Yttrium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


yt·​tri·​um ˈi-trē-əm How to pronounce yttrium (audio)
: a metallic element that occurs in minerals along with other similar uncommon elements see element

Medical Definition


yt·​tri·​um ˈi-trē-əm How to pronounce yttrium (audio)
: a trivalent metallic element usually included among the rare earth elements which it resembles chemically and with which it occurs in minerals
symbol Y
see Chemical Elements Table

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