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[ur-bee-uh m] /ˈɜr bi əm/
noun, Chemistry
a rare-earth metallic element, having pink salts. Symbol: Er; atomic weight: 167.26; atomic number: 68.
1835-45; < New Latin, named after Ytterby, Sweden, where first found; see -ium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for erbium
  • The purpose of this investigation is to evaluate erbium laser devices for dermatological cosmetic procedures.
British Dictionary definitions for erbium


a soft malleable silvery-white element of the lanthanide series of metals: used in special alloys, room-temperature lasers, and as a pigment. Symbol: Er; atomic no: 68; atomic wt: 167.26; valency: 3; relative density: 9.006; melting pt: 1529°C; boiling pt: 2868°C
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin, from (Ytt)erb(y), Sweden, where it was first found + -ium
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for erbium

1843, coined in Modern Latin with metallic element name -ium + erbia, name given by Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander (1797-1858), who discovered it, from second element in Ytterby, name of a town in Sweden where mineral containing it was found.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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erbium in Medicine

erbium er·bi·um (ûr'bē-əm)
Symbol Er
A soft rare-earth element, used in metallurgy and nuclear research. Atomic number 68; atomic weight 167.26; melting point 1,529°C; boiling point 2,860°C; specific gravity 9.066; valence 3.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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erbium in Science
Symbol Er
A soft, silvery, metallic element of the lanthanide series. It is used as a neutron absorber in nuclear technology and in light amplification for fiber-optic telecommunications. Atomic number 68; atomic weight 167.26; melting point 1,497°C; boiling point 2,900°C; specific gravity 9.051; valence 3. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for erbium


(Er), chemical element, rare-earth metal of the lanthanoid series of the periodic table. Erbium is a grayish silver element that also occurs as a series of pink compounds. It had limited commercial uses until the age of fibre-optic telecommunications, when it became an important constituent of the signal repeaters in long-distance telephone cables.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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