element
Pronunciation
  • enPR: ĕl'ĭmənt, IPA: /ˈel.ɪ.mənt/
Noun

element (plural elements)

  1. One of the simplest or essential parts or principles of which anything consists, or upon which the constitution or fundamental powers of anything are based.
    Letters are the elements of written language.
    • (Thucydides)
      The simplicity which is so large an element in a noble nature was laughed to scorn.
    1. (chemistry) Any one of the simplest chemical substances that cannot be decomposed in a chemical reaction or by any chemical means and made up of atoms all having the same number of protons.
    2. One of the four basic building blocks of matter in theories of ancient philosophers and alchemists: water, earth, fire, and air.
    3. (legal) A required aspect or component of a cause of action. A deed is regarded as a violation of law only if each element can be proved.
    4. (set theory) One of the objects in a set.
    5. Any of the teeth of a zip fastener.
  2. A small part of the whole.
    an element of doubt;  an element of the picture
  3. (obsolete) The sky.
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, Letter 69:
      Sometimes, solitude is of all things my wish; and the awful silence of the night, the spangled element, and the rising and setting sun, how promotive of contemplation!
  4. (plural only, with "the") Atmospheric forces such as strong winds and rains.
    exposed to the elements
  5. A place or state of being that an individual or object is best suited to.
    to be in one's element
  6. (Christianity, usually, in the plural) The bread and wine taken at Holy Communion.
  7. A group of people within a larger group having a particular common characteristic.
    You sometimes find the hooligan element at football matches.
  8. A component in electrical equipment, often in the form of a coil, having a high resistance, thereby generating heat when a current is passed through it.
    The element in this electric kettle can heat the water in under a minute.
  9. (computing) One of the conceptual objects in a markup language, usually represented in text by tags.
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element (elements, present participle elementing; past and past participle elemented)

  1. (obsolete) To compound of elements.
    • 1661, Robert Boyle, The Sceptical Chymist:
      elemented bodies
    • 1681, Maunyngham, Disc., page 89:
      thou art elemented and organed
  2. (obsolete) To constitute and be the elements of.
    • , Donne, Poems, page 41:
      those things which elemented [love]
    • 1658, Izaak Walton, Life of Donne:
      His very soul was elemented of nothing but sadness.
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