Definition of samarium in US English:



  • The chemical element of atomic number 62, a hard silvery-white metal of the lanthanide series.

    • ‘For undergraduate chemistry it was required that one could recite the whole thing from memory, to know that iridium lies at the foot of cobalt, that europium is sandwiched between samarium and gadolinium.’
    • ‘The inclusions crystallize at the same time as the host diamond and incorporate trace elements such as samarium and neodymium, which may be used for radiometric dating.’
    • ‘The periodic chart developed by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev showed that an element should be found between neodymium and samarium.’
    • ‘One of the strongest magnets available is made from an alloy of samarium and cobalt.’
    • ‘Many other pairs of isotopes linked by decay processes with long half-lives are used for geological dating of rocks, including samarium - 147 neodymium - 143, rubidium - 87 strontium - 87, and potassium - 40 argon - 40.’


Late 19th century: from samar(skite), a mineral in which its spectrum was first observed (named after Samarsky, a 19th-century Russian official) + -ium.