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[tuhng-stuh n] /ˈtʌŋ stən/
noun, Chemistry
a rare, metallic element having a bright-gray color, a metallic luster, and a high melting point, 3410° C, and found in wolframite, tungstite, and other minerals: used in alloys of high-speed cutting tools, electric-lamp filaments, etc. Symbol: W; atomic weight: 183.85; atomic number: 74; specific gravity: 19.3.
Also called wolfram.
Origin of tungsten
1760-70; < Swedish, equivalent to tung heavy + sten stone
Related forms
[tuhng-sten-ik] /tʌŋˈstɛn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tungsten
  • Both halogen and incandescent bulbs produce light by heating a tungsten filament with an electrical current.
  • tungsten is yellow, flash is blue, and fluorescent varies.
  • It features gold plated bullet-proof windows, tungsten and white gold gauges and bullet proof tires.
  • Mules are outfitted with special tungsten carbide shoes that act as the equivalent of studded snow tires.
  • When you reach the top you can exploring the old tungsten mine.
  • In other words, about the temperature of a tungsten light bulb.
  • Halogen bulbs are more efficient because their quartz cases allow the tungsten filaments to burn at a higher temperature.
  • Synthetic drill bits have increasingly been replacing traditional tungsten bits in the marketplace.
British Dictionary definitions for tungsten


a hard malleable ductile greyish-white element. It occurs principally in wolframite and scheelite and is used in lamp filaments, electrical contact points, X-ray targets, and, alloyed with steel, in high-speed cutting tools. Symbol: W; atomic no: 74; atomic wt: 183.85; valency: 2–6; relative density: 19.3; melting pt: 3422±20°C; boiling pt: 5555°C Also called wolfram
Word Origin
C18: from Swedish tung heavy + stenstone
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 tungsten

rare metallic element, 1796, from Swedish tungsten "calcium tungstate," coined by its discoverer, Swedish chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786) from tung "heavy" + sten "stone." Used earlier as the name for calcium tungstate (1770). Atomic symbol W is from Latin wolframium, from German Wolfram "iron tungstate" (see wolfram).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tungsten in Medicine

tungsten tung·sten (tŭng'stən)
Symbol W
A hard brittle corrosion-resistant metallic element having the highest melting point of any metal and used in high-temperature structural materials and in electrical elements, notably lamp filaments. Atomic number 74; atomic weight 183.85; melting point 3,422°C; boiling point 5,555°C; specific gravity 19.3 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Also called wolfram.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tungsten in Science
Symbol W
A hard, gray to white metallic element that is very resistant to corrosion. It has the highest melting point of all elements, and it retains its strength at high temperatures. It is used to make light-bulb filaments and to increase the hardness and strength of steel. Atomic number 74; atomic weight 183.84; melting point 3,410°C; boiling point 5,900°C; specific gravity 19.3 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Also called wolfram. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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