Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[kal-uh-fawr-nee-uh m] /ˌkæl əˈfɔr ni əm/
noun, Chemistry
a transuranic element. Symbol: Cf; atomic number: 98.
1945-50; named after the University of California where it was discovered; see -ium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for californium
  • It was made by bombarding a californium target with a beam of calcium ions.
  • The californium undergoes fission, similar to what happens inside a nuclear reactor.
  • Some of the actinides include plutonium, curium, and californium.
  • Several targets of californium isotopes were bombarded with beams of boron.
British Dictionary definitions for californium


a metallic transuranic element artificially produced from curium. Symbol: Cf; atomic no: 98; half-life of most stable isotope, 251Cf: 800 years (approx.)
Word Origin
C20: New Latin; discovered at the University of California
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
californium in Medicine

californium cal·i·for·ni·um (kāl'ə-fôr'nē-əm)
Symbol Cf
A synthetic radioactive element produced in trace quantities by neutron bombardment of curium. Its most stable isotope, Cf 251, has a half-life of 790 years. Atomic number 98.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
californium in Science
Symbol Cf
A synthetic, radioactive metallic element of the actinide series that is produced from curium or berkelium and is used in chemical analyses. Its most stable isotope, Cf 251, has a half-life of 800 years. Atomic number 98. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for californium


synthetic chemical element of the actinoid series of the periodic table, atomic number 98. Not occurring in nature, californium (as the isotope californium-245) was discovered (1950) by Stanley G. Thompson, Kenneth Street, Jr., Albert Ghiorso, and Glenn T. Seaborg at the University of California, Berkeley, as a product resulting from the helium-ion bombardment of curium-242 (atomic number 96) in the 60-inch cyclotron.

Learn more about Cf with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for californium

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for californium

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for californium