Definition of cadmium in English:



mass noun
  • The chemical element of atomic number 48, a silvery-white metal.

    • ‘The use of chlorophyll fluorescence to study effects of cadmium, copper, and mercury on photosynthesis has been recently reviewed.’
    • ‘For example, many metals, like cadmium, lead, and mercury are toxic to humans and are mutagenic and carcinogenic.’
    • ‘Other heavy metals, such as cadmium, were not recognized as poisonous until the early nineteenth century.’
    • ‘In addition to mercury and lead, the other heavy metals commonly used by auto makers are cadmium and hexavalent chromium.’
    • ‘New processing methods are outlined from which potassium, sodium, barium, strontium and cadmium were discovered.’
    • ‘The principal pollutants are lead, cadmium, zinc, iron and manganese.’
    • ‘These elements include mercury, bromine, cadmium, indium, thallium, lead, and bismuth.’
    • ‘Selenium appears to antagonize cadmium, especially in acute exposures.’
    • ‘High levels of zinc, cadmium, and barium have also been consistently found in residential soils close by the plant.’
    • ‘And with toxic metals like cadmium, mercury and lead, it's the same story.’
    • ‘Computers contain chemicals such as brominated flame retardants and heavy metals like lead and cadmium.’
    • ‘Crabs, for example, when examined, show up to 20 times the normal levels of carcinogenic metals such as cadmium and cobalt.’
    • ‘Finally, vitamin C can help rid the body of heavy metal toxins, including mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel.’
    • ‘Exposure to toxic metals such as cadmium or lead can result in an alteration in peripheral metabolism of thyroid hormones.’
    • ‘Unknown quantities of mercury, lead, chromium and cadmium are also on board.’
    • ‘A final stress condition that was characterized was exposure to the heavy metal cadmium.’
    • ‘The thermal and electrical conductivity of copper are relatively unaffected by small amounts of either silver or cadmium.’
    • ‘Similarly, small amounts of the toxic trace metal cadmium can promote plant growth’
    • ‘But motor oil wears out and gets dirty, soaking up toxic heavy metals like lead and cadmium, and so it must be changed.’
    • ‘When waste oils are burned in incinerators, toxic metals such as nickel, vanadium and cadmium get ensnared in the particles given off into the atmosphere.’

Cadmium occurs naturally in zinc ores and is obtained as a by-product of zinc smelting. It is used as a component in alloys with a low melting point and as a corrosion-resistant coating on other metals


Early 19th century: from Latin cadmia ‘calamine’, so named because it is found with calamine in zinc ore. Compare with calamine.