Definition of molybdenum in English:



  • [mass noun] The chemical element of atomic number 42, a brittle silver-grey metal of the transition series, used in some alloy steels.

    • ‘Vanadium, molybdenum, niobium, titanium, chromium, nickel, manganese are but a few of the many metals which make their way into steel to yield alloys with special properties.’
    • ‘We added copper, cobalt, selenium, molybdenum, etc to the deficient soils and transformed the plant and animal health.’
    • ‘The corresponding loss in yield strength is compensated by alloying with vanadium, nitrogen, chromium, molybdenum, and titanium.’
    • ‘One might be able to recover from waste relatively pure metals, such as chromium and molybdenum, which are for all practical purposes identical to unused materials.’
    • ‘Common hydroprocessing catalysts consist of an aluminum oxide carrier on to which the metals molybdenum and nickel or cobalt are added.’


Early 19th century: modern Latin, earlier molybdena (originally denoting a salt of lead), from Greek molubdaina plummet, from molubdos lead.