One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The existence of two or more different physical forms of a chemical element.
- ‘With the exception of nitrogen, all group V elements show allotropy.’
- ‘The best known example for allotropy is iron.’
- ‘The difference in the arrangement of space in the atoms that make up the structure of an element is called allotropy.’
- ‘An example of allotropy is carbon, which can exist as diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon.’
Mid 19th century: from Greek allotropos ‘of another form’, from allo- ‘other’ + tropos ‘manner’ (from trepein ‘to turn’).
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