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[mass noun] The chemical element of atomic number 14, a non-metal with semiconducting properties, used in making electronic circuits. Pure silicon exists in a shiny dark grey crystalline form and as an amorphous powder.
- ‘The most common technology for harvesting energy from sunlight is the photovoltaic cell based on silicon.’
- ‘As silicon doesn't conduct electricity, impurities are added so it becomes a conductor.’
- ‘Diamond behaves like silicon when you place it at very high temperatures and pressures.’
- ‘Silicosis is caused when silicon, fine particles of rock, enters the lungs and cuts lung tissue.’
- ‘Normally silicon does not emit light as it has an indirect energy band gap.’
Early 19th century: alteration of earlier silicium, from Latin silex, silic- flint, on the pattern of carbon and boron.
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From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, discover surprising and intriguing language facts from around the globe.
The definitions of ‘buddy’ and ‘bro’ in the OED have recently been revised. We explore their history and increase in popularity.