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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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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.


(1) A fundamental component of a composite entity (such as a vessel element that makes up the vessels in angiosperms).

(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

Related terms: