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[te-loo r-ee-uh m] /tɛˈlʊər i əm/
noun, Chemistry
a rare, lustrous, brittle, crystalline, silver-white element resembling sulfur in its properties, and usually occurring in nature combined with gold, silver, or other metals of high atomic weight: used in the manufacture of alloys and as a coloring agent in glass and ceramics. Symbol: Te; atomic weight: 127.60; atomic number: 52; specific gravity: 6.24.
< New Latin (1798), equivalent to Latin tellūr- (stem of tellūs) earth + -ium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tellurium
  • The leading thin film manufacturer uses a material that includes the rare element tellurium.
  • tellurium hexafluoride is a colorless gas with a repulsive odor.
  • When heated to high temperatures, it may emit toxic fluoride and tellurium fumes.
  • tellurium supply and demand have remained to continue as there are no large increases not have a major impact on demand.
British Dictionary definitions for tellurium


a brittle silvery-white nonmetallic element occurring both uncombined and in combination with metals: used in alloys of lead and copper and as a semiconductor. Symbol: Te; atomic no: 52; atomic wt: 127.60; valency: 2, 4, or 6; relative density: 6.24; melting pt: 449.57±0.3°C; boiling pt: 988°C
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from Latin tellūs the earth, formed by analogy with uranium
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for tellurium

metallic element, named by German chemist and mineralogist Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743-1817) from Latin tellus (genitive telluris) "earth" (see tellurian).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tellurium in Medicine

tellurium tel·lu·ri·um (tě-lur'ē-əm)
Symbol Te
A brittle metallic element usually found in combination with gold and other metals, used to alloy stainless steel and lead, and, as bismuth telluride, in thermoelectric devices. Atomic number 52; atomic weight 127.60; melting point 449.5°C; boiling point 988°C; specific gravity 6.24; valence 2, 4, 6.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tellurium in Science
Symbol Te
A metalloid element that occurs as either a brittle, shiny, silvery-white crystal or a gray or brown powder. Small amounts of tellurium are used to improve the alloys of various metals. Atomic number 52; atomic weight 127.60; melting point 449.5°C; boiling point 989.8°C; specific gravity 6.24; valence 2, 4, 6. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for tellurium


((Te), semimetallic chemical element in the oxygen family (Group VIa of the periodic table), closely allied with the element selenium in chemical and physical properties. It was discovered in 1782 by Franz Joseph Muller von Reichenstein, a mining inspector in Transylvania. Tellurium is not an abundant element, although it is widely distributed around the world. It is rarely found in the uncombined state and usually occurs as tellurides of copper, lead, silver, gold, iron, or bismuth. The chief sources from which the element is extracted are the slimes from copper and lead refineries in addition to flue dusts from the processing of telluride gold ores.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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