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[kyoo-puh l, kyoo-pel] /ˈkyu pəl, kyuˈpɛl/
a small, cuplike, porous container, usually made of bone ash, used in assaying, as for separating gold and silver from lead.
a receptacle or furnace bottom in which silver is refined.
verb (used with object), cupeled, cupeling or (especially British) cupelled, cupelling.
to heat or refine in a cupel.
Origin of cupel
1595-1605; < Medieval Latin cūpella, equivalent to Latin cūp(a) tub + -ella diminutive suffix
Related forms
[kyoo-puh-ler] /ˈkyu pə lər/ (Show IPA),
[kyoo-pel-er] /kyuˈpɛl ər/ (Show IPA),
cupellation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cupellation
Historical Examples
  • The charge sent to the cupellation furnace would contain between 3% and 5% copper, and between 3% and 5% sulphur.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • The history of cupellation is specially dealt with in note on p. 465.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • The test to be applied to the regulus by way of cupellation and parting of a sample with nitric acid, requires no explanation.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • If this be the case, then cupellation was practised in 2500 B.C.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • By cupellation with lead, gold may be deprived of any antimony united with it.

  • They both recommend preserving this precipitate and its cupellation after melting with lead—which Agricola apparently overlooked.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • But in either case the cupellation is imperfect, and should be repeated with a larger proportion of lead.

    A Textbook of Assaying: For the Use of Those Connected with Mines. Cornelius Beringer and John Jacob Beringer
  • The refining of silver in "tests" (Latin testa) is merely a second cupellation, with greater care and under stronger blast.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • cupellation, in which the lead was converted into a vitreous oxide, which was floated off from the surface of the silver.

  • The coppery skimmings from the cupellation furnace are referred to again in Note 28, p. 539.

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
British Dictionary definitions for cupellation


the process of recovering precious metals from lead by melting the alloy in a cupel and oxidizing the lead by means of an air blast
the manufacture of lead oxide by melting and oxidizing lead


/ˈkjuːpəl; kjʊˈpɛl/
a refractory pot in which gold or silver is refined
a small porous bowl made of bone ash in which gold and silver are recovered from a lead button during assaying
verb -pels, -pelling, -pelled (US) -pels, -peling, -peled
(transitive) to refine (gold or silver) by means of cupellation
Derived Forms
cupeller, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French coupelle, diminutive of coupecup
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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