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

But red meat also provides rich sources of many nutrients not found in high amounts in plants – like iron, vitamin B 12, and zinc – in addition to being an excellent source of complete protein. Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News, "Health Matters: Is a "detox diet" good or bad for your health?," 13 July 2018 And Sangamo Therapeutics, a company in Richmond, California, has employed an older gene editing tool called zinc finger nucleases to knock out a gene in some of the cells of HIV patients to help them resist the virus. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Gene edited monkeys offer hope for heart disease patients," 9 July 2018 This lovely humidor case is odor resistant and lockable, and comes with an array of containers, a zinc alloy grinder and removable rolling tray. Olivia Hall, The Seattle Times, "Overstressed? 15 wellness trends to help you relax," 3 July 2018 In the Dominican — and especially in his village where the houses are erected straight out of the dirt with 2x4s, blocks of concrete and zinc roofs — that’s life-altering money for an entire family. Maria Torres, kansascity, "The Legend of Seuly Matias: Royals prospect once milked cows, now blasts homers," 11 June 2018 One high-profile 2015 study in The Lancet suggested that 140 million more people worldwide may suffer from zinc deficiency by 2050. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "As CO2 Levels Rise, Rice Becomes Less Nutritious," 24 May 2018 Instead of a chemical sunscreen, look for a physical sunscreen such as EltaMD Physical SPF, PCA Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF, Obagi Sunshield, or Neutrogena Sheer Zinc that use zinc as the sun protection ingredient. Dr. Leslie Baumann, miamiherald, "What are the best sunscreens for swimming and sports? | Miami Herald," 22 May 2018 In front and on display to the street is a lounge with Art Deco curves, where bartenders percussively clack shakers behind a long river of zinc. New York Times, "It’s Not Fake French, It’s Frenchette," 10 July 2018 The first residential building, handsomely designed by SHoP Architects and clad in perforated copper and zinc, is a bit of a false leader. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "Sweet Design on the Brooklyn Waterfront," 30 June 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

10 Oct 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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Comments on zinc

What made you want to look up zinc? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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