Definition of zirconium in US English:



  • The chemical element of atomic number 40, a hard silver-gray metal of the transition series.

    • ‘In addition it is rich in zirconium, titanium and the heavy end of the Rare Earths suite.’
    • ‘The process is not recommended for weld preparation for stainless steel, titanium, zirconium, and other similar metals without subsequent cleaning.’
    • ‘Sodium is also used as a chemical reducing agent in producing titanium, zirconium, niobium, and tantalum from their fused salts.’
    • ‘A Reuters article on a shortage of the mineral zircon predicts that cubic zirconium jewelry will go up in price because prices for zirconium have soared.’
    • ‘For deoxidation of carbon and low-alloy steels, aluminum, titanium, and zirconium are used.’
    • ‘She has previously said aluminium and zirconium in cosmetics could affect hormone levels, raising the risk of cancer.’
    • ‘They whipped up a mixture of zirconium, magnesium aluminate, and alumina that offers unusual ductility: it can bend and stretch.’
    • ‘The most important of those elements is uranium, which readily substitutes for zirconium in the crystal structure because the ions of both elements have the same charge and roughly the same size.’
    • ‘The minor alloy additions, such as chromium and zirconium, have a marked effect on mechanical properties and corrosion resistance.’
    • ‘A very small amount of zirconium is used in the manufacture of alloys for products such as flash bulbs, rayon spinnerets, lamp filaments, precision tools, and surgical instruments.’


Early 19th century: modern Latin, from zircon.