Definition of tantalum in English:



  • [mass noun] The chemical element of atomic number 73, a hard silver-grey metal of the transition series.

    • ‘Magnesium, titanium, zirconium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum and tungsten may be soldered if they are plated with a solderable metal coating such as silver.’
    • ‘Many rare but technologically important elements, such as tantalum and uranium, continue to be mined from poor regions of the world under conditions that some consider pernicious and hazardous.’
    • ‘A second element, tantalum, is always present in these minerals along with niobium.’
    • ‘The initial spark was a press release from the Tantalum-Niobium International Study Centre calling for a boycott of tantalum mined illegally in world heritage sites in the Congo.’
    • ‘With the cell phone industry booming, the park's resources and wildlife are under massive strain from miners seeking colombo-tantalite, also known as coltan or tantalum.’


Early 19th century: from Tantalus, with reference to its frustrating insolubility in acids.