One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Each of two or more different physical forms in which an element can exist. Graphite, charcoal, and diamond are all allotropes of carbon.
- ‘Each of these allotropes of phosphorous also has its own subset of forms.’
- ‘Arsenic has two allotropes, yellow arsenic and metallic arsenic, which is brittle.’
- ‘Incredibly lightweight carbon nanofoams, essentially a fifth major allotrope of carbon, were discovered several years ago.’
- ‘Two allotropes of the element exist, accounting for the slight variation in densities.’
- ‘A third allotrope occurs as an amorphous brown powder with a density of 2.350 grams per cubic centimeter.’
Late 19th century: back-formation from allotropy.
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