noun, plural: elements
(physics, chemistry) A substance that cannot be decomposed into simpler substances by chemical means, and is made up of atoms all with identical number of protons.
(2) A place or condition best suited or most favorable for an individual (e.g. water is the element of fishes).
(3) Any of the formerly theorized building blocks of material universe: water, earth, fire and air.
Common examples of elements are iron, copper, silver, gold, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. The combination of these elements form a compound. For instance, the combination of sodium and chlorine atoms results in the formation of a table salt or sodium chloride.
Word origin: from Latin elementum.
Related forms: elemental (adjective)
See also: compound