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[mag-nee-zee-uh m, -zhuh m, -shee-uh m] /mægˈni zi əm, -ʒəm, -ʃi əm/
noun, Chemistry
a light, ductile, silver-white, metallic element that burns with a dazzling white light, used in lightweight alloys, flares, fireworks, in the manufacture of flashbulbs, optical mirrors, and precision instruments, and as a zinc substitute in batteries. Symbol: Mg; atomic weight: 24.312; atomic number: 12; specific gravity: 1.74 at 20°C.
Origin of magnesium
1800-10; < New Latin; see magnesia, -ium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for magnesium
  • One thing that had been suggested to me by a dentist was taking a magnesium supplement.
  • It is a good source of thiamine, magnesium and other minerals.
  • The next thing he knew was a blaze of white magnesium light, and a huge ball of fire.
  • Most of the remainder is metals such as aluminum, magnesium and calcium.
  • Scientists also designed a new hermetically sealed gondola from magnesium alloy.
  • They decided to use highly explosive magnesium flash powder.
  • Aging pipes are often replaced with more earthquake-resistant magnesium-reinforced cast iron.
  • magnesium regulates blood pressure and strengthens the immune system.
  • Add the baking soda to seawater, which contains magnesium and calcium.
  • In one, a magnesium-based electrochromic layer reacts with hydrogen ions to reflect light.
British Dictionary definitions for magnesium


a light silvery-white metallic element of the alkaline earth series that burns with an intense white flame, occurring principally in magnesite, dolomite, and carnallite: used in light structural alloys, flashbulbs, flares, and fireworks. Symbol: Mg; atomic no: 12; atomic wt: 24.3050; valency: 2; relative density: 1.738; melting pt: 650°C; boiling pt: 1090°C
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from magnesia
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 magnesium

silvery-white metallic element, 1808, coined by English chemist Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) from white magnesia (q.v.), in which it was found, + chemical ending -ium.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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magnesium in Medicine

magnesium mag·ne·si·um (māg-nē'zē-əm, -zhəm)
Symbol Mg
A light metallic element that burns with a brilliant white flame. Atomic number 12; atomic weight 24.305; melting point 649°C; boiling point 1,090°C; specific gravity 1.74 (at 20°C); valence 2.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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magnesium in Science
Symbol Mg
A lightweight, moderately hard, silvery-white metallic element of the alkaline-earth group that burns with an intense white flame. It is an essential component of chlorophyll and is used in lightweight alloys, flash photography, and fireworks. Atomic number 12; atomic weight 24.305; melting point 649°C; boiling point 1,090°C; specific gravity 1.74 (at 20°C); valence 2. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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