Definition of tellurium in English:



mass noun
  • The chemical element of atomic number 52, a brittle, shiny, silvery-white metalloid resembling selenium and occurring mainly in small amounts in metallic sulphide ores.

    • ‘At higher temperatures, the metal does combine with many acids, the halogens, sulfur, selenium, and tellurium.’
    • ‘Lead, tellurium and selenium are added to copper and its alloys to improve machinability.’
    • ‘Like selenium, tellurium is used in electronic devices.’
    • ‘Lead, selenium, tellurium and sulfur are added to copper alloys to improve machinability.’
    • ‘Elements such as lead, tellurium, beryllium, chromium, phosphorus, and manganese have little or no effect on the corrosion resistance of coppers and binary copper-zinc alloys.’


Early 19th century: modern Latin, from Latin tellus, tellur- ‘earth’, probably named in contrast to uranium.