[sil-i-kuhn, -kon]
noun Chemistry.
a nonmetallic element, having amorphous and crystalline forms, occurring in a combined state in minerals and rocks and constituting more than one fourth of the earth's crust: used in steelmaking, alloys, etc. Symbol: Si; atomic weight: 28.086; atomic number: 14; specific gravity: 2.4 at 20°C.

1817; silic(a) + -on, as in carbon and boron

silicon, silicone. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
silicon (ˈsɪlɪkən)
a.  a brittle metalloid element that exists in two allotropic forms; occurs principally in sand, quartz, granite, feldspar, and clay. It is usually a grey crystalline solid but is also found as a brown amorphous powder. It is used in transistors, rectifiers, solar cells, and alloys. Its compounds are widely used in glass manufacture, the building industry, and in the form of silicones. Symbol: Si; atomic no: 14; atomic wt: 28.0855; valency: 4; relative density: 2.33; melting pt: 1414°C; boiling pt: 3267°C
 b.  (modifier; sometimes capital) denoting an area of a country that contains a density of high-technology industry
[C19: from silica, on the model of boron, carbon]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"nonmetallic element," 1817, coined by British chemist Thomas Thomson from silica (q.v.), patterned on boron, carbon, etc. (Silicone was coined 1863 in Ger. on the same plan.) Silicon chip first attested 1965; Silicon Valley for the Santa Clara Valley south of San Francisco
first attested 1974, from the silicon chips used in computers, watches, etc.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

silicon sil·i·con (sĭl'ĭ-kən, -kŏn')
Symbol Si
A nonmetallic element occurring extensively in the earth's crust in silica and silicates, having both an amorphous and a crystalline allotrope and used in glass and semiconducting devices. Atomic number 14; atomic weight 28.086; melting point 1,414°C; boiling point 3,265°C; specific gravity 2.33; valence 4.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
silicon   (sĭl'ĭ-kŏn')  Pronunciation Key 
Symbol Si
A metalloid element that occurs in both gray crystalline and brown noncrystalline forms. It is the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust and can be found only in silica and silicates. Silicon is used in glass, semiconductors, concrete, and ceramics. Atomic number 14; atomic weight 28.086; melting point 1,410°C; boiling point 2,355°C; specific gravity 2.33; valence 4. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
silicon [(sil-i-kon, sil-i-kuhn)]

A chemical element from which semiconductors are made. It is also used in the manufacture of glass, concrete, brick, and pottery.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

silicon definition

1. The material used as the base (or "substrate") for most integrated circuits.
2. Hardware, especially integrated circuits or microprocessor-based computer systems (compare iron).
Contrast: software. See also sandbender.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
The diminutive engines that power our global village start as pure silicon.
As computer circuitry advances, silicon chips decrease in size.
They used electrodes to shock silicon wafers with enough electricity to create
  a silicon vapor.
When light hits the panel, it is diffused to the edges, which are covered with
  silicon solar receptors.
Images for silicon
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