One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The chemical element of atomic number 52, a brittle, shiny silvery-white semimetal resembling selenium and occurring mainly in small amounts in metallic sulfide ores. It is a semiconductor and is used in some electrical devices and in specialized alloys.
- ‘Lead, tellurium and selenium are added to copper and its 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.’
- ‘At higher temperatures, the metal does combine with many acids, the halogens, sulfur, selenium, and tellurium.’
- ‘Lead, selenium, tellurium and sulfur are added to copper alloys to improve machinability.’
- ‘Like selenium, tellurium is used in electronic devices.’
Early 19th century: modern Latin, from Latin tellus, tellur- ‘earth’, probably named in contrast to uranium.
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