One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An element (e.g. arsenic, antimony, or tin) whose properties are intermediate between those of metals and solid non-metals or semiconductors.Also called metalloid
- ‘There is no sharp dividing line between the metals and nonmetals; the metalloids, also called semimetals, form a buffer between the two.’
- ‘Separating them are metalloids or semimetals.’
- ‘Typical examples would include metal oxides, metal and semimetal nitrides.’
- ‘It is a metalloid or semimetal, which is defined as ‘an element that has the physical appearance and properties of a metal but behaves chemically like a nonmetal.’’
Mid 17th century: from modern Latin semimetallum (see semi-, metal).
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