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"safeguard," c.1600, originally (late 14c.) "sacred image of Pallas Athene," from Latin palladium, from Greek Palladion, noun use of neuter of Palladios "of Pallas." It stood in the citadel of Troy and the safety of the city was believed to depend on it.
metallic element, coined 1803 by discoverer William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828), from Pallas, name of an asteroid discovered the previous year (by German astronomer Olbers) and named for the goddess (see Pallas).
palladium pal·la·di·um (pə-lā'dē-əm)
A soft ductile metallic element occurring naturally with platinum, especially in gold, nickel, and copper ores, and used as a catalyst in hydrogenation. Atomic number 46; atomic weight 106.4; melting point 1,555°C; boiling point 2,963°C; specific gravity 12.02 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4.
A malleable, ductile, grayish-white metallic element that occurs naturally with platinum. It is used as a catalyst in hydrogenation and in alloys for making electrical contacts and jewelry. Atomic number 46; atomic weight 106.4; melting point 1,552°C; boiling point 3,140°C; specific gravity 12.02 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4. See Periodic Table.
in Greek religion, image of the goddess Pallas (Athena), especially the archaic wooden statue of the goddess that was preserved in the citadel of Troy as a pledge of the safety of the city. As long as the statue was kept safe within Troy, the city could not be conquered. It was said that Zeus, the king of the gods, threw the statue down from heaven when the city of Ilium (Troy) was founded and that the Greek warriors Odysseus and Diomedes carried it off from the temple of Athena in Troy, thus making the Greek capture of Troy possible. Many cities in Greece and Italy claimed to possess the genuine Trojan Palladium, but it was particularly identified with the statue brought to Italy by the hero Aeneas after Troy's destruction and preserved in the shrine of the goddess Vesta at Rome. The Palladium was a common subject in Greek art, as was its theft in literature.