(Science: chemistry) A rare nonmetallic element found in certain minerals, as tantalite, samarskite, and fergusonite, and isolated as a dark powder which becomes steel-gray by burnishing. Symbol ta. Atomic weight 182.0. Formerly called also tantalium.
Origin: NL. So named on account of the perplexity and difficulty encounterd by its discoverer (Ekeberg) in isolating it. See Tantalus.