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[ih-lek-truh m] /ɪˈlɛk trəm/
an amber-colored alloy of gold and silver used in ancient times.
an alloy composed of about 50 percent copper, 30 percent nickel, and 20 percent zinc.
German silver; nickel silver.
Origin of electrum
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek ḗlektron amber, alloy of gold and silver Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for electrum
Historical Examples
  • electrum is an alloy of gold and silver, Stannum of lead and silver (see note 33, p. 473).

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • In what way did electrum induce attention to this property of force in matter?

    The Reason Why Anonymous
  • The coins first issued by the Lydians were of electrum, an alloy of gold and silver.

    Invention Bradley A. Fiske
  • The most ancient Lydian coins are likewise made of electrum.

    Troy and its Remains Henry (Heinrich) Schliemann
  • It was sometimes inscribed with pictures and hieroglyphs, and covered with a capping of gold-metal or electrum (which see).

    The New York Obelisk Charles E. Moldenke
  • It was of electrum, a kind of brass at this time called the gold of the poor.

    Joan of Arc Lucy Foster Madison
  • Some think that it was the electrum of the ancients, which was an alloy of silver and gold.

    The New York Obelisk Charles E. Moldenke
  • Because it first revealed itself to human observation through a substance called, in the Greek language, electrum.

    The Reason Why Anonymous
  • In both cases the name is derived from the pale yellow colour of electrum, resembling that of amber.

  • From this electrum he supposed that valuable amulets and magic mirrors could be prepared.

    Bygone Beliefs H. Stanley Redgrove
British Dictionary definitions for electrum


an alloy of gold (55–88 per cent) and silver used for jewellery and ornaments
Word Origin
C14: from Latin, from Greek ēlektron amber
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
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Word Origin and History for electrum

"alloy of gold and up to 40% silver," late 14c. (in Old English elehtre), from Latin electrum "alloy of gold and silver," also "amber" (see electric). So called probably for its pale yellow color.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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