One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The chemical element of atomic number 73, a hard silver-gray 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.
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