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[lith-ee-uh m] /ˈlɪθ i əm/
Chemistry. a soft, silver-white metallic element, the lightest of all metals, occurring combined in certain minerals. Symbol: Li; atomic weight: 6.939; atomic number: 3; specific gravity: 0.53 at 20°C.
Pharmacology. the substance in its carbonate or citrate form used in the treatment or prophylaxis of bipolar disorder or mania.
Origin of lithium
1810-20; < New Latin; see lith-, -ium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for lithium
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bode reported that injection of irritants such as lithium salts or quinine hydrochloride had no apparent effect on the symbiotes.

  • Random samplings from various parts of the area show that the ash consists of magnesium, lithium, and beryllium carbonates.

    Anything You Can Do ... Gordon Randall Garrett
  • A lithium bomb is nothing for a country the size of Afghanistan to let off inside its own borders.

    Operation R.S.V.P. Henry Beam Piper
  • Nor had he tried to steal any of the fusion materials—the heavy isotopes of hydrogen or any of the lithium isotopes.

    Anything You Can Do ... Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Alkalies—sodium salicylate, potassium bicarbonate, liquor potassæ, and lithium carbonate.

    Essentials of Diseases of the Skin Henry Weightman Stelwagon
British Dictionary definitions for lithium


a soft silvery element of the alkali metal series: the lightest known metal, used as an alloy hardener, as a reducing agent, and in batteries. Symbol: Li; atomic no: 3; atomic wt: 6.941; valency: 1; relative density: 0.534; melting pt: 180.6°C; boiling pt: 1342°C
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from litho- + -ium
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 lithium

silver-white metallic element, 1818, with element ending -ium + lithia, Modern Latin name given by Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848) to the earth from which it was extracted, from Greek lithos "stone" (see litho-). So called from its mineral origin and to distinguish it from two previously known alkalis of vegetable origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lithium in Medicine

lithium lith·i·um (lĭth'ē-əm)
Symbol Li
A soft, highly reactive metallic element. Atomic number 3; atomic weight 6.941; melting point 180°C; boiling point 1,342°C; specific gravity 0.534; valence 1.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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lithium in Science
Symbol Li
A soft, silvery metallic element of the alkali group that occurs in small amounts in some minerals. It is the lightest of all metals and is highly reactive. Lithium is used to make alloys, batteries, glass for large telescopes, and ceramics. Atomic number 3; atomic weight 6.941; melting point 179°C; boiling point 1,317°C; specific gravity 0.534; valence 1. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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