One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Tungsten or its ore, especially as a commercial commodity.
- ‘By 1907 most of the gold mining was replaced by tin and wolfram.’
- ‘Stobart cites from the 19th century a host of ketchups including oyster, mussel, Windermere (mushrooms and horseradish), wolfram (beer, anchovies, mushrooms), and pontac (elderberries).’
- ‘Karens also make their living by fishing in coastal areas, working in tin or wolfram mines, and gathering forest products like rattan and honey.’
- ‘But instead of going to London she married Frank King and moved to remote Hatches Creek, a wolfram mining town 400 kilometres north of Alice Springs.’
- ‘It's then balanced with heavy inserts of wolfram (the principle ore in tungsten) on both the heel and toe.’
- ‘The same year Lodygin's electric lamps were illuminating a St Petersburg shop and he went on to patent the wolfram filament lamp.’
- ‘The base is made from the stone remains of a defunct wolfram mine and its wharf.’
- ‘High-grade iron ore and copper was imported from Sweden; iron ore from Poland, Austria, and Spain; wolfram from Portugal and Spain; and chromium from Turkey.’
- ‘In Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan the mining of wolfram, vanadium, and molybdenum had to be increased to compensate for the loss of sites in German-occupied territory.’
Mid 18th century: from German, assumed to be a miners' term, perhaps from Wolf ‘wolf’ + Middle High German rām ‘soot’, probably originally a pejorative term referring to the ore's inferiority to tin, with which it occurred.
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