noun, often attributive
\ˈziŋk \

Definition of zinc 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a bluish-white metallic element that is ductile when pure but in the commercial form is brittle at ordinary temperatures and becomes ductile on slight heating, occurs abundantly in minerals, is an essential micronutrient for both plants and animals, and is used especially in alloys and as a protective coating in galvanizing iron and steel — see Chemical Elements Table


zinced or zincked\ˈziŋ(k)t \; zincing or zincking\ˈziŋ-​kiŋ \

Definition of zinc (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to treat or coat with zinc : galvanize

Examples of zinc in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Energy storage includes grid-scale lithium-ion batteries as well as vanadium and zinc flow batteries, lead-acid batteries, and advanced lead batteries. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "New year, same story: Cost of wind and solar fall below cost of coal and gas," 12 Nov. 2018 For more stubborn flare-ups, experts recommend sticking to traditional dandruff treatments such as over-the-counter shampoos containing the antifungal and antibacterial ingredient pyrithione zinc or prescription medicines from your dermatologist. Krissy Brady, SELF, "What Tea Tree Oil Can and Can’t Do for Your Skin," 4 Oct. 2018 The Russian Soyuz capsule, used to transport astronauts to and from the ISS, uses silver-zinc batteries that last only a few months. Loren Grush, The Verge, "NASA is prepared if a battery ever explodes in space," 17 Aug. 2018 Any spills along the route are reported to this office as well, such as a zinc concentrate spill that occurred in 2015, and another one that occurred in 2016. National Geographic, "America’s Most Toxic Town Is Not Where You Think," 21 Feb. 2018 Together with the calcium supplement, Breus recommends taking magnesium and zinc supplements, since the three work together to help maintain sleep. Stephanie Saltzman, Allure, "7 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep Faster," 23 Jan. 2018 As a teenager in Kellogg, Idaho, Flory attended Silver King School, built in 1928 in the gulch between the Bunker Hill lead smelter and zinc plant. Sena Christian, Newsweek, "Bunker Hill Superfund Site Is Still a Toxic Mess, With Legacy of Suffering," 12 June 2016 Palladium, zinc and lead all followed copper prices lower, while oil settled at a two-month low. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Investors Abandon Risk as Economic Fears Grip Markets," 15 Aug. 2018 The rest of the exterior features Siberian larch wood and incorporates zinc and steel detailing. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "‘Floating’ modern home offers stunning cliffside views," 13 Aug. 2018

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

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First Known Use of zinc


1651, in the meaning defined above


1841, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zinc


German Zink

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Learn More about zinc

Dictionary Entries near zinc





zinc alkyl


zinc amide

Statistics for zinc

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for zinc

The first known use of zinc was in 1651

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More Definitions for zinc



English Language Learners Definition of zinc

: a bluish-white metal that is very common and is used especially to make brass and as a protective coating for things made of iron and steel


\ˈziŋk \

Kids Definition of zinc

: a bluish white metal that tarnishes only slightly in moist air and is used mostly to make alloys and to give iron and steel a protective coating


\ˈziŋk \

Medical Definition of zinc 

: a bluish white crystalline bivalent metallic element of low to intermediate hardness that is an essential micronutrient for both plants and animals symbol Zn — see Chemical Elements Table

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More from Merriam-Webster on zinc

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zinc

Spanish Central: Translation of zinc

Nglish: Translation of zinc for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zinc for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about zinc

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living or existing for a long time

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