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

Examples of yttrium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The aquatic plant contains the elements platinum and rhodium, along with rare-earth elements like neodymium, lanthanum, yttrium and dysprosium. Devika Rao, theweek, 22 May 2024 The tape is made up of yttrium barium copper oxide deposited on a steel substrate. IEEE Spectrum, 15 July 2023 These new materials, such as the ceramic known as yttrium barium copper oxide, became a superconductor at 93 Kelvin—still cold, but not absolute-zero cold. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 15 Aug. 2023 The team’s superconductor of choice was yttrium barium copper oxide, or YBCO. IEEE Spectrum, 15 July 2023 Eva Zurek, a theoretical chemist at the University at Buffalo, and Louie are confident hydrides will pass muster as superconductors, noting that multiple groups have reported evidence of superconductivity in sulfur hydride (H3S), lanthanum hydride, and yttrium hydride. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, 26 Aug. 2021 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 And a quantum leap in affordability is on the horizon, if a way can be found to use new high-temperature yttrium-barium copper oxide superconducting materials that could be cooled with liquid nitrogen, instead of expensive and difficult-to-handle liquid helium. Abe Dane, Popular Mechanics, 14 Jan. 2021 Three components: yttrium oxide, manganese oxide, and indium oxide. Mark Thiessen, National Geographic, 8 Dec. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'yttrium.' 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 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 Jun. 2024.

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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