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[tan-tl-uh m] /ˈtæn tl əm/
noun, Chemistry.
a gray, hard, rare, metallic element occurring in columbite and tantalite and usually associated with niobium: used, because of its resistance to corrosion by most acids, for chemical, dental, and surgical instruments and apparatus. Symbol: Ta; atomic weight: 180.948; atomic number: 73; specific gravity: 16.6.
Origin of tantalum
1795-1805; < New Latin; named after Tantalus Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tantalum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The tantalum filament was quickly followed by osmium and by tungsten in this country.

    Artificial Light M. Luckiesh
  • Just to make sure of cleaning up the last infinitesimal traces, though, I'm going to flash a getter charge of tantalum in it.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
  • Later came the metalized carbon filament and finally the employment of tantalum or tungsten.

    The Age of Invention Holland Thompson
  • A century elapsed after its discovery before von Bolton produced the first tantalum filament lamp.

    Artificial Light M. Luckiesh
  • The oxide of tantalum dissolves in the bead, but gives no colour.

    A Textbook of Assaying: For the Use of Those Connected with Mines. Cornelius Beringer and John Jacob Beringer
British Dictionary definitions for tantalum


a hard greyish-white metallic element that occurs with niobium in tantalite and columbite: used in electrical capacitors in most circuit boards and in alloys to increase hardness and chemical resistance, esp in surgical instruments. Symbol: Ta; atomic no: 73; atomic wt: 180.9479; valency: 2, 3, 4, or 5; relative density: 16.654; melting pt: 3020°C; boiling pt: 5458±100°C
Word Origin
C19: named after Tantalus, with reference to the metal's incapacity to absorb acids
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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tantalum in Medicine

tantalum tan·ta·lum (tān'tə-ləm)
Symbol Ta
A hard heavy metallic element that is exceptionally resistant to chemical attack below 150°C and is used to make electronic components and surgical instruments. Atomic number 73; atomic weight 180.948; melting point 3,017°C; boiling point 5,458°C; specific gravity 16.7; valence 2, 3, 4, 5.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tantalum in Science
Symbol Ta
A hard, heavy, gray metallic element that is highly resistant to corrosion at low temperatures. It is used to make light-bulb filaments, surgical instruments, and glass for camera lenses. Atomic number 73; atomic weight 180.948; melting point 2,996°C; boiling point 5,425°C; specific gravity 16.6; valence 2, 3, 4, 5. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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